Clauses and Phrases
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Clauses and Phrases

Clauses can be independent or dependent. A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate AND is used as part of a sentence. An independent clause expresses a complete thought, e.g. 'He tore the page in half'. Thus, an independent clause could stand alone exactly like a sentence. On the other hand, 'whenever he heard it' is a dependent clause: it can't stand alone because it doesn't represent a complete thought. A phrase is a group of two or more connected words which does not contain a subject and predicate, e.g. 'the girl', terrible weather' 'the enemy having lost'. In this 11-plus English quiz, you are going to get some practice in dealing with phrases and clauses. A sentence is a collection of words that expresses a complete thought. In order to express a complete thought, the sentence must have a subject and predicate: the predicate is that part of the sentence that contains a verb and states something about the subject, e.g. in 'Peter fell over', 'Peter' is the subject and 'fell over' is the predicate. The predicate verb is 'fell'. Here's a useful tip: a phrase is neither a sentence nor a clause.

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  1. Wherever he looked,...
    The text does not express a complete thought. You should now have started to realize that dependent clauses often start with words such as 'although', 'because', 'since', 'though', 'as' and 'if'. It is these words that prevent the dependent clause from expressing a complete thought
  2. I knew how to do it.
    The text expresses a complete thought
  3. ... because it was not possible to find it.
    The text does not express a complete thought
  4. multicoloured, plastic flowers
    This is a phrase
  5. ... , he was very clever.
    The comma shows that something else precedes the independent clause: it could be a dependent clause
  6. While waiting for him to return, ...
    The text does not express a complete thought
  7. He was a famous engineer ...
    The text expresses a complete thought
  8. He knew where the key was since he had seen her hide it.
    Independent clause: 'He knew where the key was'. Dependent clause: 'since he had seen her hide it'. This sentence can also be written as 'Since he had seen her hide it, he knew where the key was'. (Note the use of a comma when the sentences starts with a dependent clause)
  9. Although he was tired, he carried on swimming.
    Dependent clause: 'Although he was tired' (note the use of a comma when the sentence starts with a dependent clause). Independent clause: 'he carried on swimming'
  10. fresh crispy carrots
    This is a phrase

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