# Finite subordniate clauses?

4 replies
Hello someone out there ( Perhaps Gleb? =)

I really need some help with finite subordinate clauses. I have understood that they appear in three different categories : adjectival, adverbial and nominal clauses.

But can someone please give good example on how to divide them?

Adjectival clauses is the same as relative clauses, right? And it postmodifies a noun, and it gives additional information about something without starting another sentence. They are always introduced by one of the relative pronouns. ( who,whom,which, that, whose) And those refer back to the antecedent- the noun that the relative clause refers back to. And so far so good..

But what about the restrictive and non restrictive relative clauses? I have understood that it has something to do with the use of commas.. What else divides them? I would love to get a good answer to this.

Adveribal clauses can be recognized through a list of conjuctions used about time, plase, reason and so on.. Is there more to say?

But what about nominal clauses? They define nouns? I know the are divided into "that clauses, nominal relative clauses and indirect questions". I get soooo confused learning these at the same time as adjectival clauses,because sometimes when I read a clause, and the word "that" is what is needed to be analyzed, I get so confused, it this a pronoun in an adjectival clause or is it a that-clause from the nominal clause category. Please explain the difference between nominal clauses and adjectival/relative clauses... I know I have messed it all up inside my head at this moment, need someone to put the pieces together.

I would be so greatful to get an answer to this, because I have my exam in just a couple of days...
New Member11
You are spot on with adjective clauses. The only thing to add is that the relative pronoun can be omitted at times, making it challenging to identify them.

It can be omitted when it is the object of the clause, not the subject:

This is the man, whom I saw last night.

This is the man I saw last night.

It can also be omitted if it is a subject pronoun and is immediately followed by the verb to be. Observe:

This is the man, who is in trouble with the law.

This is the man in trouble with the law.

Note that when the pronoun along with the verb to be is omitted, the resulting construction is not an adjective clause, but an adjective phrase, because the subject (who) and the verb (is) is omitted.

With regard to defining and non-defining relative clauses (restrictive and non-restrictive), I think it best that you search the terms on google. Plenty of sites explain this clearly for you. Basically, however, the terms restrictive and non-restrictive are used to label words, phrases or clauses that are specifying a noun or not specifying a noun respectively.

----------------------------

Now, as you said with adverbial clauses, they are headed by a conjunction that refers to time, place, etc. Whats more, adverbial clauses will always answer a question: when? where? why? how? to what extent? That is, an adverbial clause modifies the verb in the main clause, or the entire sentence, making it a sentenial adverb clause.

Additionally, adverbial clause can be reduced, creating reduced adverbial clauses or non-finite adverbial clauses. This can happen when the subject of the adverbial clause is the same as the the subject of the main clause:

When I was walking home, I saw two birds chirping in their roosts.

When walking home, I saw two birds chirping in their roosts.

Because the subject of the main clause is the same as the subject of the dependent clause, the subject of the dependent adverbial clause can be omitted. The subject is unnecessary (to an extent) in the adverbial clause.

Also, the conjunction heading the former adverbial clause (when, in this example) can sometimes be left off if the answer to the question that the adverbial clause identifies is obvious:

Walking home, I saw two birds chirping in their roots.

It is obvious when he saw the two birds; he saw them when he was walking; otherwise you wouldn't mention that you were walking at the time.

-------------------

Noun clauses are the trickiest to understand, so I don't blame you for your confusion. Noun clauses function as nouns do: they function as subjects, objects of verbs, objects of prepositions, complements, and appositives. They are headed by words such as whether and that. Observe:

Whether I go or not is not up to me. = Noun clause as subject

That I felt lonely was a problem only I had to bear.= Noun clause as subject.

I know that Latin is no longer spoken as a native language.=Noun clause as DO

They talked about what you bought at the mall=Noun clause as object of preposition

Note that since they are clauses, they will have a subject and verb, such as in the first example above: (I, go and I, felt respectively).

If you are able to identify the subject, verb, objects, complements etc in a clause, then you will have no problem identifying a noun clause. Noun clauses have to exist in such a position--whereas a relative clause modifies a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause.

Hope I have cleared up at least some of your queries.
Senior Member2,872
Greetings, Agatha,
JustafreakI really need some help with finite subordinate clauses. I have understood that they appear in three different categories : adjectival, adverbial and nominal clauses.

But can someone please give good example on how to divide them?
- we divide subordinate clauses into FOUR categories based on their potential functions. These categories are nominal, adverbial, relative, and comparative clauses.

Nominals behave like noun phrases; similarly to NPs, they often are subjects, objects, complements, etc. For instance:

I am sure that we can clarify this issue.

We left after the lecture ended.
(compare with adverb: We left early.)

Relative clauses function as restrictive or non-restrictive modifiers of NPs:

a man who is lonely (restrictive, no comma)
My sister, who lives in France, owns her own business. (non-restrictive, comma)

Finally, comparative clauses are manifested in the following:

He's not as clever a man as I assumed.
JustafreakAdjectival clauses is the same as relative clauses, right?
It depends on what exactly you mean by the term 'adjectival clause'. Many linguists say that an adjectival clause is the one resembling the following:

Wild with anger, Demeter tried to persuade her to come back.

They call such clauses a mere subdivision of non-finite verbless clauses. Therefore, since you are concerned with finite constructions, I'll continue to use the term 'relative clause' for the sake of being consistent in terminology.
JustafreakAnd it postmodifies a noun , and it gives additional information about something without starting another sentence . They are always introduced by one of the relative pronouns. ( who,whom,which, that, whose) (NOT ALWAYS, AGATHA. NO PRONOUN OCCURS IN RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES WHERE THE PRONOUN IS NOT A SUBJECT. WHEN THERE IS NO RELATIVIZER, WE CALL IT A ZERO RELATIVIZER, AS IN The question _ I want to ask you is a simple one.) And those refer back to the antecedent- the noun that the relative clause refers back to . And so far so good..
JustafreakBut what about the restrictive and non restrictive relative clauses? I have understood that it has something to do with the use of commas.. What else divides them? I would love to get a good answer to this.
- a clause is restrictive when it is intended to limit the reference of an antecedent. For example, if you say that That man is my brother, pointing to a group of people, it will not be understood which one. So, you need to restrict the reference of That man, and you say: The man that is wearing a blue tie is my brother. Now it is perfectly understood.

A clause is called non-restrictive when it does not restrict the reference, but instead contributes additional information about the antecedent. For example, presuming that your close friend you are talking to is aware that you have only one sister, you may say: My sister, who lives in Germany, is coming to us on holiday. The underlined clause supplies additional, trivial information, because the phrase my sister is already quite clear.
JustafreakAdveribal clauses can be recognized through a list of conjuctions used about time, plase, reason and so on.. Is there more to say?
- conjunctions can be a useful indicator showing that a clause is adverbial, but it is important to grasp the overall meaning of the clause, perhaps putting an answer to it. Sometimes, the same conjunction can introduce different types of adverbial clauses. Cf:

I've lived here since I was born. <temporal adverbial clause>

I'm going home since I don't have anything to do at the moment. <causal adverbial clause>

You can distinguish between the two types of clauses only by understanding their meaning and putting a question to each of them (if you find it useful): Why are you going home? Since when have you lived here?..
JustafreakBut what about nominal clauses? They define nouns? NO, THEY THEMSELVES BEHAVE LIKE NOUNS. I know the are divided into "that clauses, nominal relative clauses and indirect questions" IT IS INCORRECT. I'LL GIVE THE CLASSIFICATION A BIT LATER. I get soooo confused learning these at the same time as adjectival clauses,because sometimes when I read a clause, and the word "that" is what is needed to be analyzed, I get so confused, it this a pronoun in an adjectival clause or is it a that-clause from the nominal clause category. Please explain the difference between nominal clauses and adjectival/relative clauses... I know I have messed it all up inside my head at this moment, need someone to put the pieces together.
- The main point of difference, Agatha, is that nominal clauses can function as nouns themselves, but relative clauses can only modify nouns. To identify discriminate between clauses, try to determine their syntactic role. For example, you need to analyse this sentence:

I told one of my colleagues that I had a plan.

Is it a relative clause or a nominal one? For convenience, you may try to shorten it:

I told him something.

Structurally, the sentences are identical. They both feature Subject + Verb + Indirect Object + Direct Object. If the clause is a direct object in the sentence, it is doubtlessly a nominal clause.

Also, you need to know the essential elements for a relative clause:

1) the antecedent (you already know what it means);
2) relativizer (a relative pronoun)
3) a gap (something after the relativizer which would be in place if there were two independent sentences).

For example:

I enjoyed the time that I was given _ to study and explore.

Let's analyse:
1) the antecedent is the time (it precedes the relative clause);
2) that is a relativizer;
3) a gap is shown by "_". It symbolises the word(s) that the relativizer represents. To put it differently, we had two sentences:

I enjoyed the time. + I was given the time to study and explore.

On combining them to form a single sentence, we got a gap instead of the time in the second sentence:

I enjoyed the time that I was given _ to study and explore.

Finally, let me present a full classification of nominal clauses that is almost universally acceptable:

1. That-clauses: I thought that it was all over.
2. Wh-interrogative clauses: I'm not sure who has paid.
3. Yes-no and alternative interrogative clauses: Do you know whether the banks are open?
4. Exclamative clauses: It's incredible how fast she can swim.
5. Nominal relative clauses: I eat what I like.

6. to-infinitive clauses: He likes to relax.
7. -ing clauses: He enjoys playing practical jokes.