Review: Identifying Clauses

Some of the following passages are clauses, with a predicate (and usually, a subject), while others are simply phrases. See if you can spot the clauses. Remember: a phrase will not have a subject and a predicate of its own.

 

 

1. I love to eat Montréal bagels

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer clause is correct.

Explanation:

This is a clause because it contains the subject "I" and the predicate "love to eat Montréal bagels."

Oops!

Answer:

The answer phrase is not correct.

Explanation:

This is a clause because it contains the subject "I" and the predicate "love to eat Montréal bagels."

 

 

2. the big, bad wolf

Oops!

Answer:

The answer clause is not correct.

Explanation:

This passage names the wolf, but does not tell the reader what the wolf is doing or what state the wolf is in, since it does not have a predicate.

Oops!

Answer:

The answer phrase is not correct.

Explanation:

This passage names the wolf, but does not tell the reader what the wolf is doing or what state the wolf is in, since it does not have a predicate.

 

 

3. rode the bus to Halifax

Oops!

Answer:

The answer clause is not correct.

Explanation:

Who "rode the bus to Halifax"? This passage has a predicate, but no subject.

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer phrase is correct.

Explanation:

Who "rode the bus to Halifax"? This passage has a predicate, but no subject.

 

 

4. they were thinking about the language issue

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer clause is  correct.

Explanation:

This passage is clearly a clause, since it expresses a grammatically-complete thought -- it has the pronoun "they" acting as its subject and the verb phrase "were thinking about the language issue" acting as its predicate.

Oops!

Answer:

The answer phrase is not correct.

Explanation:

This passage is clearly a clause, since it expresses a grammatically-complete thought -- it has the pronoun "they" acting as its subject and the verb phrase "were thinking about the language issue" acting as its predicate.

 

 

5. the student considering everything written on this subject

Oops!

Answer:

The answer clause is  not correct.

Explanation:

Both the word "considering" and the word "written" are participles made out of verbs ("consider" and "write"); in this passage, however, they are acting not as verbs, but as adjectives -- "considering" modifies the noun "student," while "written" modifies the pronoun "everything." Since there is no verb acting as a predicate, this is simply a phrase.

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer phrase is correct.

Explanation:

Both the word "considering" and the word "written" are participles made out of verbs ("consider" and "write"); in this passage, however, they are acting not as verbs, but as adjectives -- "considering" modifies the noun "student," while "written" modifies the pronoun "everything." Since there is no verb acting as a predicate, this is simply a phrase.

 

 

6. stay on the Trans-Canada highway through British Columbia

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer clause is  correct.

Explanation:

It is easy to see why you might have though this passage was a phrase -- after all, it has no visible subject. Remember that a direct command has the implied subject "you," and that it is still a clause.

Oops!

Answer:

The answer phrase is not correct.

Explanation:

It is easy to see why you might have though this passage was a phrase -- after all, it has no visible subject. Remember that a direct command has the implied subject "you," and that it is still a clause.

 

 

7. after the morning rush hour

Oops!

Answer:

The answer clause is  not correct.

Explanation:

Who did what after the morning rush hour? This passage consists only of the preposition "after" followed by its object; with no subject and no predicate, this passage must be a phrase.

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer phrase is correct.

Explanation:

Who did what after the morning rush hour? This passage consists only of the preposition "after" followed by its object; with no subject and no predicate, this passage must be a phrase.

 

 

8. they hate politics

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer clause is  correct.

Explanation:

There is nothing missing here -- the pronoun "they" tells you who hates politics, and the predicate "hate politics" tells you what they do. Since there is a subject and a predicate, the passage is a clause.

Oops!

Answer:

The answer phrase is not correct.

Explanation:

There is nothing missing here -- the pronoun "they" tells you who hates politics, and the predicate "hate politics" tells you what they do. Since there is a subject and a predicate, the passage is a clause.

 

 

9. because of the coat which I bought in the West Edmonton Mall

Oops!

Answer:

The answer clause is  not correct.

Explanation:

What happened because of the coat? This is a very difficult passage -- "which I bought in the West Edmonton Mall" is a clause, with the subject "I" and the simple predicate "bought," but that clause simply modifies the noun "coat," which is the object of the preposition "because of." A phrase is still a phrase, even if it has a clause inside.

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer phrase is correct.

Explanation:

What happened because of the coat? This is a very difficult passage -- "which I bought in the West Edmonton Mall" is a clause, with the subject "I" and the simple predicate "bought," but that clause simply modifies the noun "coat," which is the object of the preposition "because of." A phrase is still a phrase, even if it has a clause inside.

 

 

10. when the train arrived at the station

Good Work!

Answer:

The answer clause is  correct.

Explanation:

You might have thought that this is a phrase because it is not a complete sentence; however, it does contain a subject ("the train") and a predicate ("arrived at the station") -- the subordinating conjunction "when" simply shows that it is dependent on something else in the sentence.

Oops!

Answer:

The answer phrase is not correct.

Explanation:

You might have thought that this is a phrase because it is not a complete sentence; however, it does contain a subject ("the train") and a predicate ("arrived at the station") -- the subordinating conjunction "when" simply shows that it is dependent on something else in the sentence.