Definition of Clauses

This is probably a stupid question but … what are clauses?


This might just be more confusing, but it’s a part of a sentence that consists of a predicate and any elements tied to that predicate grammatically, such as the subject.

Maybe it’s easier to point at a clause and identify it than it is to define it with other words.

Perhaps it would help to know why you want to know?


Right. I am currently studying the の particle, and when we can use it to replace a noun. I was given the following examples:

Correct - . ⽩いのは、かわいい

Wrong - Changing 学⽣じゃない⼈は、 学校に⾏かない to 学⽣じゃないのは、学校に⾏かない

My guide has given sort of a caveat. It states “This may make things seem like you can replace any arbitrary nouns with 「の」 but this is not so. It is important to realize that the sentence must be about the clause and not the noun that was replaced.”

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A clause is often identified by a verb and the bits that go along with it. The verb doesn’t have to relate to an event that has actually happened or will happen.

“I don’t like people who eat babies.”

people who eat babies is a sub-clause here as ‘eat’ is a verb and the other words are directly related to that potential act.

I don’t like [sub-clause] is the main clause as ‘like’ is the main verb and the other words, including the sub-clause, are directly related to that verb.

It’s important to see here that the main idea is my dislike of such people and not the people who would eat babies.

The main clause comes after sub-clauses in Japanese and so I couldn’t say ‘my dislike のは people who eat babies’ to mean the same thing.

Yours sincerely,
The Baby Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells.

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it’s just a small sentence kappa.

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There are already better replies here but if you are not feeling the grammar here’s what a “clause” is for me: it’s a musical phrase. It’s not complete or finished-feeling necessarily. As a musical phrase gives harmonic context to its surrounding phrases, a clause fits into and around other clauses and gives them meaning and context.
It’s a ridiculously loose definition but maybe it could help? (Hopefully it’s not damagingly wrong-headed.)


Unorthodox example but thank you for your explanation!


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