11/8/2013
The Printable KISS Workbooks KISS Level 3.1.2
 
The Death 
of King Arthur
by
James Archer
(English, 1823-1904)
The Most Common Functions
of 
Subordinate Clauses
 
     With rare exceptions, every subordinate clause functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb within another clause. This means that a subordinate clause is embedded in, and thus a part of, a main clause. This page explains the most common functions of subordinate clauses. The other functions of subordinate clauses are explained in later KISS Levels.

     The easiest way to identify clauses is to first identify all the S/V/C patterns in a sentence. In KISS analysis, we put a vertical line after main clauses and brackets around subordinate clauses.

Noun Clauses: A subordinate clause can function in any way that a noun can.

     Probably the most common function of noun clauses is as direct objects:

She thought [DO that would be a good idea (PN)]. |
      Noun clauses can also function as indirect objects:
Bill sent [IO whoever wanted one (DO)] a copy (DO) {of his book}. |
     Noun clauses can be objects of prepositions:
They were listening {to [OP what the teacher was saying]}. |
     They can function as predicate nouns:
His idea was [PN that we should go fishing]. |
     The last of the most common functions of noun clauses is a subject:
[Subj. That she was right (PA)] was difficult (PA) {for him} to accept. |
Adjectival Clauses: A subordinate clause can function as an adjective. Normally, adjectival clauses modify the word that immediately precedes them.
The man [Adj. who robbed the bank (DO) ] is now {in jail}. |
Those are the flowers (PN) [Adj. that Tom gave his wife (IO)]. |
Adverbial Clauses:  A subordinate clause can function as an adverb.
He cried [Adv. to "cried" because his team lost]. |
[Adv. to "had" After they won the game (DO),] they had a big party (DO). |