Clauses and sentences - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Clauses and sentences

from English Grammar Today

What is a clause?

A clause is the basic unit of grammar. A clause must contain a verb. Typically a clause is made up of a subject, a verb phrase and, sometimes, a complement:

I’ve eaten.

The sale starts at 9 am.

I didn’t sleep well last night.

Are you listening to the radio?

What is a sentence?

A sentence is a unit of grammar. It must contain at least one main clause. It can contain more than one clause. In writing, a sentence typically begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop:

She spoke to me. (one clause)

I looked at her and she smiled at me. (two main clauses connected by and)

We didn’t go to the show because there weren’t any tickets left. (a main clause and a subordinate clause connected by because)

In everyday speaking, it is often difficult to identify sentences. We speak in small stretches of language, sometimes just single words or phrases. We don’t always speak in complete sentences, and we often complete each other’s ‘sentences’:

Right.

Let’s go.

A:

What are those flowers?

B:

Which ones?

A:

The pink ones over there.

A:

Did I tell you I’m going to do a course in um

B:

Computing?

A:

No, business studies.

(“Clauses and sentences” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
by ,
April 27, 2016
by Liz Walter If you are a learner of English and you are confused about the words there, their and they’re, let me reassure you: many, many people with English as their first language share your problem! You only have to take a look at the ‘comments’ sections on the website of, for example, a popular

Read More 

Word of the Day

sample

a small amount of something that shows you what the rest is or should be like

Word of the Day

bio-banding noun
bio-banding noun
April 25, 2016
in sport, grouping children according to their physical maturity rather than their age ‘When we’re grouping children for sports, we do it by age groups, but the problem is that, within those age groups, we get huge variations in biological age,’ said Dr Sean Cumming, senior lecturer at the University of Bath’s department for

Read More