The Printable KISS Workbooks KISS Level 3.1.2

Identifying Clauses -- The Procedure

      A clause is a subject / finite verb / complement pattern and all the words that chunk to it (modify it).  As a result, there will be one clause for every S/V/C pattern. A sentence can consist of one or more clauses, but every normal sentence has at least one main clause.

If a sentence has only one S/V/C pattern, put a vertical line after it and go on to the next sentence. [The clause should be a main clause.]

If a sentence has more than one S/V/C pattern: 

El Greco's View of Toledo (c. 1597)

1. Check for subordinate conjunctions. (See the list below.) They will often indicate where subordinate clauses begin. If you have put brackets around all the clauses introduced by subordinate conjunctions, and you still have more than one S/V/C pattern in the sentence, go on to 2.

2. Start with the LAST S/V/C pattern and work backwards! For each clause:  

a. Find the last word in the clause.

b. Find the first word in the clause. (Start with the word before the subject and keep moving toward the front of the sentence until you find a word that does not chunk to that S/V/C pattern.)

c. If the clause begins with a subordinate conjunction , it is obviously subordinate. Put brackets around it. [If a clause begins with "and," "or," "but," a colon, a semicolon, or a dash, it is probably a main clause put a vertical line in front of it.]

d. If the clause does not begin with a subordinate conjunction, check to see if it answers a question about a word outside itself but within the sentence. If it does, put brackets around it. If it does not, put a vertical line after it.

3. Repeat this procedure until there is only one S/V/C pattern in the sentence that has not been analyzed. The remaining pattern will be the core of a main clause. Put a vertical line at the end of the main clause.
The following words often function as subordinate conjunctions:

after, although, as, as if, as though, because, before, if, how, lest, since, than, that, when, where, while, what, who, why, which, until, whenever, wherever, whatever, whoever, whichever, whether, for, so