Clauses and phrases are the building blocks of sentences. Every sentence must have at least one clause to be considered grammatically correct. Understanding how clauses and phrases work will help you better understand sentence structure. You’ll need to have a working knowledge of subjects, predicates, and objects before you continue.
A clause is a subject and a predicate working together.
I took the dog to the park.
The example has one subject, I, and one predicate, took. Since they are working together to form a comprehensible sentence, this sentence has one clause.
I love learning, so I spend a lot of time reading.
This example has two predicates: love and spend. Since they are each working together with separate subjects, this sentence has two clauses.
A phrase is a group of words related to the subject, predicate, or object. Phrases do not contain a subject and a predicate, or we would call them clauses. Phrases provide additional information about subjects, predicates, and / or objects, and understanding how they work is helpful to building an analyzing sentences.
After working late into the night, Jack fell asleep on his desk.
The emboldened portion of the sentence exemplifies the phrase. It provides additional information about our subject, Jack, but the sentence does not require this information to be grammatically complete.
I left my keys inside of the Whole Foods, my favorite grocery store.
In this example sentence, the predicate is left and the subject is I. On the other side of the sentence we have a phrase that provides additional information about the object of the sentence Whole Foods. Note that a phrase can come at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.
Click here to learn about independent and dependent clauses.
Clauses Worksheet – Here’s a fun, mall-themed worksheet to help your students better recognizes clauses and sentence structure. Students identify the subjects, predicates, and objects in 15 sentences and determine how many clauses are in each sentence. Then students write original sentences with a variety of clauses.
Clauses Worksheet 01 | RTF
Clauses Worksheet 01 | PDF
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Clauses Worksheet 01 | Ereading Worksheet – Online Test
Joining Clauses and the Circus – Students read the circus themed sentences and join the clauses using coordinating and subordinating conjunctions without creating run-on sentences.
Joining Clauses and the Circus RTF
Joining Clauses and the Circus PDF
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Ninjas! – Independent and Dependent Clauses – Read the paragraph about ninjas. Circle dependent clauses and underline independent clauses.
Ninjas and Clauses RTF
Ninjas and Clauses PDF
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Clauses and Phrases Worksheets – Features the exciting theme of leprechauns. Circle the predicates, underline the subject, double underline the phrases.
Clauses and Phrases Worksheet RTF
Clauses and Phrases Worksheet PDF
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Clauses Lesson – Slide show lesson teaching students independent and dependent clauses and phrases. It includes a practice assessment after the lesson.
Clauses Lesson PPT
Clauses and Phrases PowerPoint Lesson – This slideshow is a revision of the above lesson, but it has been both simplified and expanded.
Clauses and Phrases PowerPoint Lesson