Subordinate clauses can be adjective clauses, adverb clauses or noun clauses.
An adjective clause serves the same purpose as an adjective. It says more about a noun or pronoun.
Adjective clauses are introduced by the relative pronouns who, whom, which, what, whose or that.
Examples are given below.
- The man who lives next door is a musician. (Here the adjective clause ‘who lives next door’ says something about the noun ‘man’.)
- This is the book that you have been looking for. (Here the adjective clause ‘that you have been looking for’ says something about the noun book.)
A noun clause serves the same purpose as a noun. It can act as the subject or object of the verb. It can also act as the object of a preposition. Noun clauses are usually introduced by the conjunctions that, if or whether.
- She knows that she will win the first prize. (Here the noun clause ‘that she will win the first prize’ acts as the object of the verb ‘knows’.)
An adverb clause serves the same purpose as an adverb. It tells you when, where, why or how something occurs.
- When I was in school I wanted to be a writer.
- They took him to hospital because he was ill.
- Unless you speak the truth, you will be in trouble.