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Clauses

 

Techniques > Use of language > Syntax > Clauses

Subject | Verb | Object | Complement | Adverbial | See also

 

The clause is the basic unit of syntactical communication within a sentence, which can contain multiple clauses. It has five basic elements: the subject, verb, object, complement and adverbial. SVOCA, to you.

Subject

The subject of the clause is the topic of the clause, telling the read what the clause is about. It is usually a noun, although it can also be pronoun or even a list of items.

The cat sat on the mat

Verb

The verb expresses meaning such as action, sensation and states of being. It tells you what the subject is doing.

The cat sat on the mat

Object

The object of the clause is who or what is the recipient of the verb's action. It is usually a noun.

The cat sat on the mat

Complement

A complement gives extra information about the subject or object (and hence are noun complements or verb complements).

The big, fat cat sat on the rather strange mat

Adverbial

The adverbial adds information about the situation, such as where, when or how it took place.

The cat sat on the mat in the corner

The adverbial is often an adverb but can also be a noun, a noun phrase or a prepositional phrase.

See also

Clause arrangement, Sentences, Using compound sentences

 

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