CBSE Class 9 English Grammar – Clauses
1. A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a verb. It may be a sentence or the part of a sentence.
2. There are three kinds of clauses:
- Noun clause
- Adverbial clause
- Relative clause
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3. Noun clause
Read the following sentences:
(a) I hope that I shall pass, (noun clause)
(b) She knows what I want, (noun clause)
The underlined words are noun clauses and form parts of the sentences (a) and (b).
The noun clauses answer the question what?
The that-clause following the main clause ‘I hope’ is also a noun clause just as ‘ What I want’ is a noun clause which follows the main clause ‘she knows’.
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4. Noun clauses begin with the following connectives: ,
1. Pronouns: what, which, who, whom, whose.
2. Adverbs: when, where, why, how.
3. Conjuctions: if, that, whether.
- You can see what we have done.
- Can you tell me who had done it?
- Do you know whose car it is?
- I don’t know which book he has bought.
- I can’t say whom I should believe.
- I can’t tell you when he will come.
- Please tell me why he is always late.
- I don’t know where he has gone.
- Does anyone know how it has happened?
- I wonder if the weather is going to be all right.
- She asked whether the train will leave on time.
- I can tell you that he is a good boy.
5. Functions of Noun Clauses:
Noun clauses function like nouns or noun phrases. They can function as subject, object, complement, or object of a preposition, etc:
- What you said surprised me.
- When she will come is uncertain.
- Whether he will help you will be known soon.
- That he would come is seemed unlikely.
- How he crossed the border is a mystery.
- Why he came here is still unknown to us.
- He says that he will help me.
- She couldn’t decide what she should do.
- You must learn when you should speak.
- She wondered whether she should stay any more.
- I don’t know who gave him this advice.
- Have you decided where you will go for your holidays?
- I asked him how I can reach that village.
- I don’t know why he sold his house.
- Our belief is that he will help us.
- This is where she works.
- My worry is why he should behave like that.
- This is what you are looking for.
- The problem is how we can cross this river.
4. Object of Preposition:
- You should pay attention to what the teacher says.
- There is no complaint except that he comes late.
- There is no meaning in what he says.
- No one is aware of how he has opened the lock.
- Everything depends on whether he helps us or not.
- It was difficult to decide on where we should go for help.
- They couldn’t agree about who should do the work.
5. Complement of an Adjective:
- I am not sure where he has gone.
- They are confident that they will find out the thief.
- It is doubtful whether she will reach in time.
6. Object of an Infinitive:
- She wants to know what is going on here.
- He came to see that he was mistaken.
- She wanted to ask if I would help her.
7. In Apposition to a Noun (Noun + Noun clause)
- The rumour that he was killed is true.
- The idea that we should set up a factory should be pursued.
- The fact that he has failed surprised his parents.
8. Object of a Participle:
- Thinking that he would die, they took him to a hospital.
- Hoping that they would win, they felt overjoyed.
6. Adverbial Clauses of Condition:
The adverbial clause of condition is introduced by if, unless, whether.
- If you run fast, you will catch the train.
- Unless you work hard. you will not pass.
The underlined words in the above sentences form the adverbial clauses of condition. A conditional clause is a subordinate clause and expresses a condition.
The conditional clauses are of the following types:
1. In an if-clause referring to a likely or possible situation in the future, the simple present tense is used. The future tense is used in the main clause:
- If it rains, we’ll go indoors.
Generally the main clause has the form: shall/will/may/can/must+first form of the verb:
- If she works hard, she will pass.
- If you request me, I shall help you.
- If you need a pen, you can take mine.
- If you want to get good marks, you must work harder.
2. In an if-clause referring to a condition that always has the same result, the simple present is used. The simple tense is used in the main clause too:
- If the engine gets too hot, it starts to smoke.
- If you heat ice, it melts.
- If you boil water, it evaporates.
- If you beat a child, he weeps.
3. If a conditional clause refers to an unlikely or impossible situation in the present or future, the simple past tense is used. In the main clause, we use ‘should‘, ‘could, ‘might‘, ‘would, etc + the first form of the verb:
- If you ran fast, you might catch the train.
- If I won a lottery, I would buy a car.
- I would tell you if I knew the answer.
- If a thief entered your house, what would you do?
- If I were rich, I would open a school for the poor.
4. If a conditional clause refers to something that did not happen in the past, the past perfect tense is used. In the main clause, we use would have/should have/could have/might have + third form of the verb:
- If she had worked hard, she would have passed,
(i.e. She didn’t work hard, so she didn’t pass).
- If he had left early, he might have caught the train.
- If he had informed me, I would have received him at the railway station.
But when the main clause is about the present, ‘would, ‘could, ‘might‘, etc. without have is used:
- If you had followed my advice, we would be home by now.
5. If a conditional clause refers to an unlikely situation in the future, ‘were to’ should followed by an infinitive, is sometimes used instead of the simple past tense:
- If you should meet him, tell him to come here.
- If she were to die before you, who would look after your children?
- If you need any help, ring me up.
6. ‘If only’ is used to express a wish with reference to present or future time:
- If only I were rich.
- If only I could swim.
- If only I knew
7. If only’ is used to express a wish that past events had been different:
- If only he had remembered to post that letter.
- If only I had met her.
- If only he had spoken the truth.
7. Adverbial Clauses of Time:
Adverbial clauses of time are used to say when something happens by referring to a period of time or to another event. The subordinating conjunctions after, before, since, when, while, whenever, till, as, etc. are used.
- I arrived after he had started.
- The patient had died before the doctor arrived.
- I have never seen her since she was ten years old.
- His father died when he was young.
- Someone called while you were out.
- Whenever I smiled, she smiled back.
- I shall wait here till you return.
- As I was leaving, the phone rang.
1. When we refer to the present or the past, the verb in a time clause has the same tense that it would have in a main clause:
- She was standing by the door when I heard her speak.
- I haven’t talked to him since he arrived.
- He looks after the children while she goes to school.
2. When we mention an event in a time clause which will happen before an event referred to in the main clause, we use the present perfect tense in the time clause:
- When you have taken your lunch, you come to me.
- Inform us as soon as you have reached here.
3. We use ‘when’, ‘while‘, ‘as’ when we refer to circumstances in which something happens or happened:
- The doors open when I press this button.
- While he was in the house, there was a loud knock at the door.
- I watched her as she combed her hair.
4. We can use ‘when‘, ‘after’, ‘once’ to talk about one event happening immediately after another:
- When he died, his sons came to me for help.
- The mother goes off in search of food after the eggs have hatched.
- Once the damage is done, it takes many years for the system to recover.
5. We use ‘as soon as’ when we want to refer to one event happening after a Very short time:
- They heard a loud explosion as soon as they entered their house.
6. When we use ‘no sooner’, the time clause begins with ‘than’:
- No sooner had he arrived than he had to leave again.
- No sooner had he sat down than the phone rang.
- No sooner had he asked the question than the answer came to him.
7. When we use ‘hardly’, the time clause begins with ‘when’’ or ‘before’:
- Hardly had he entered the house when the phone rang.
- She had hardly arrived when she had to leave again.
- He had hardly opened his eyes before she asked him to leave.
8. If we want to say that a situation stopped when something happened, we use ‘till ’ or ‘until’:
- I waited for her till/until she came back.
- Let’s wait till/until the rain stops.
9. We use ‘since’ to refer to a situation that began to exist at a particular time and still exists. We use the past simple tense in the time clause:
- I have not met her since she was a child.
- They have known each other since he lived there.
8. Relative Clauses:
The relative clause does the function of an adjective in a sentence. That is why it is also called an adjective clause. We put a relative clause immediately after the noun which refers to the person, thing, or group we are talking about.
- The boy who came into the house was my friend.
- The house which our neighbour bought is made of stone.
A relative clause is essential to the clear understanding of the noun it defines or qualifies.
‘ Who came into the house ’ is a relative clause without which it will not be clear to which ‘boy’ we are referring.
9. Defining and Non-defining Relative Clauses:
There are two kinds of relative clauses—defining and non-defining relative clauses. Defining relative clauses limit the noun or pronoun to which they refer to a particular type or examples. They answer the questions which?, what? whose? In the two example sentences above the relative clauses restrict ‘the boy‘ and ‘the house’ to a particular ‘boy ’ or a particular ‘house’.
Non-defining clauses simply give us additional information about the nouns, pronouns and clauses to which they refer. For example:
- Anwar, who returned yesterday, will come to meet us.
There are some general rules which should be noted about relative clauses and relative pronouns:
1. A non-defining clause is separated by commas (see the above sentence).
2. A defining clause is not separated by commas.
3. In a non-defining clause the relative pronoun cannot be omitted.
- Satish, who/whom you met yesterday, is a friend of mine.
- Here the relative pronoun ‘who/whom ’ cannot be omitted.
4. In a defining clause, we can omit the relative pronoun except when it is the subject of a verb:
- The woman you met yesterday is my mother.
In this sentence, the relative pronoun is omitted. But we cannot omit it in the following sentence:
- The boy who gave you this book is my friend.
- This is because here the relative pronoun ‘who’ is the subject of the verb ‘gave’.
5. In a non-defining clause the preposition governing the relative is rarely placed at the end of the clause:
- This is Mohan, about whom I was talking.
6. In a defining clause the preposition governing the relative is generally placed at the end of the relative is generally placed at the end of the clause:
- This is the boy I was talking about.
7. The relative pronouns ‘which‘, ‘who‘, ‘whose‘, ‘whom‘ are found in both defining and non-defining clauses. But the pronoun ‘that’ is only found in defining clauses.
8. The relative pronouns differ according to whether they refer to persons or things and according to their case:
9. Relative clauses are introduced by relative adverbs ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’.
- This is the house where we lived.
- This is the time when the winter season sets in.
- This is the reason why I left this place.
10. Use of Pronouns for Persons:
1. In the nominative case, we use ‘who‘ or ‘that‘. ‘That‘ is used after superlatives and after all, nobody, no one, somebody, someone, anybody, etc. when we can use either ‘who‘ or ‘that‘:
- This is the best that I could have done in that situation.
- The girl who cheated you is called Romola.
- The policeman who arrested the thief has white hair.
- All who/that listened to his speech praised him.
2. In the objective case, we use ‘whom.’, ‘who‘, ‘that‘. ‘Whom is considered more formal than ‘who‘. However, in spoken English we use ‘who‘ or ‘that‘. There is a tendency to omit the objective relative pronoun altogether:
- The boy whom/who I met is called Ramesh.
The boy that I met is called Ramesh.
The boy I met is called Ramesh.
3. We use ‘whom’ or ‘that’ with a preposition.
Generally, the preposition is placed before the relative pronoun:
The boy to whom I was speaking is my neighbour. In informal speech, the preposition is usually moved to the end of the clause and then ‘whom’ is often replaced by ‘that’ or it is omitted:
- The man to whom I gave it was a foreigner.
- The man who/whom I gave it to was a foreigner.
- The man that I gave it to was a foreigner.
4. In the possessive case, we use the relative pronoun ‘whose’:
- Boys whose result has not been declared can meet the principal.
11. Use of Pronouns for Things:
1. In the nominative case, the relative pronouns ‘which’ and ‘that’ are used. Which is considered more formal:
- This is the pen which/that cost me £5.
- This is the house which/that has been sold.
2. In the objective case, we use ‘which’ or ‘that’ or omit the relative pronoun:
- The pen which/that I bought yesterday was beautiful.
- The pen I bought yesterday was beautiful.
We generally use ‘ that’ after all, much, little, everything, none, no and compounds of no or after superlatives or we omit the relative pronoun altogether.
- All the mangoes that fall are eaten by children.
- This is the best place (that) I have ever seen.
3. When we use the objective case with a preposition, we place the preposition before ‘ which‘. But it is more usual to move it to the end of the clause, using ‘which‘ or ‘that’ or we omit the relative pronoun altogether:
- The chair on which I was sitting was made of teak wood.
- The chair which/that I was sitting on was made of teak wood.
- The chair I was sitting on was made of teak wood.
4. In the possessive case, we use the relative pronoun ‘whose‘:
- The house whose walls are made of mud bricks will not be durable.
12. Relative Pronouns used in Non-defining Clauses:
13. Use for Persons:
1. In the nominative case, only ‘who‘ is used:
- My father, who is a businessman, has an expensive car.
- Nitin, who is my friend, has gone to Dehradun.
2. In the objective case, we use ‘whom ’ and ‘who‘. ‘ Who‘ is sometimes used in conversation:
- My manager, whom I dislike, is an ill-tempered man.
- He introduced me to her girl friend, whom I had known before.
3. ‘Whom‘ is used with a preposition in the objective case. We can also use ‘who’ if we move the preposition to the end of the clause:
- Sumitra, to whom I gave a present, is my sister.
- Sumitra, who I gave a present to, is my sister.
4. We use ‘whose’ in the possessive case:
- Shakespeare, whose plays are world-famous, was a British dramatist.
14. Use for Things:
1. We use ‘which‘ in the nominative case:
- His car, which is so old, broke down mi file way.
- His office, which is near our house, is painted green.
2. In the objective also, we use ‘which‘:
- “The Merchant of Venice”, which you read yesterday, was written by William Shakespeare.
- The tree near my house, which I wanted to cut down, was uprooted in a storm.
3. The relative pronoun ‘which‘ is also used with a preposition:
- My house, for which I paid rupees fifty lacs, is beautiful.
- My house, which I paid rupees fifty lacs for, is beautiful.
4. In the possessive case, ‘whose’ or ‘of which’ are used:
- My house, whose walls are made of stone, faces East.
- My chair, of which one leg is broken, is made of teak wood.
- ‘ Which’ can refer to a whole sentence:
- I bought this compass, which helped me a lot.
- A loud music was played near our house, which kept us awake throughout file night.
15. Relative Adverbs:
The relative adverbs ‘when‘, ‘where‘, ‘why‘ are used to replace a preposition and the relative pronoun ‘which‘.
- ‘ When’ is used for time. It replaces ‘in/on which’.
- ‘ Where’ is used for place. It replaces ‘in!at which’.
- ‘ Why’ is used for reason. It replaces ‘for which’.
- That was the year in which this city was flooded.
- That was the year when this city was flooded.
- This is the house in which he lived.
- This is the house where he lived.
- This is the reason for which he was fined.
- This is the reason why he was fined.
1. Complete the dialogue by choosing the correct answers from the options given below:
Bhavesh : Your trouser is very fine. Please tell me (a)…………………………………….
Kavish : I bought it from a showroom (b)……………………………………………………
Bhavesh : Will you tell me (c)…………………………………………..
Kavish : It cost me nine hundred rupees.
- why you bought it.
- where did you buy it from.
- where you bought it from.
- when you bought it.
- who is situated at Sarojini Nagar.
- whom is situated at Sarojini Nagar.
- which is situated at Sarojini Nagar.
- where is situated at Sarojini Nagar.
- how much it cost you?
- how much did it cost you?
- which it cost you?
- how many it cost you?
(a) 3, (b) 3, (c) 1
2. Complete the dialogue by choosing the correct answers from the options given below:
Jayesh : Your writing is very fine. Could you let me know (a)…………………………………………
Rupesh : There is no secret. It is a constant practice (b)……………………………………………………
Jayesh : Please tell me (c)…………………………………………….
Rupesh : It will be enough if you spare an horn every day.
- how did you develop it?
- how you developed it?
- where you developed it?
- why did you develop it?
- that is needed.
- where is needed
- who is needed
- whom is needed
- how many times I should devote to it every day.
- how much time I should devote to it every day.
- how many times should I devote to it every day.
- how much time should I devote to it every day.
(a) 2, (b) 1, (c) 2