Clauses Exercise (202)

A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a finite verb. The following sentences all contain at least one clause; some contain two or three. Choose the answer that applies.

  • They climbed the leeward side of a small hill, man and camel planting big clumsy feet in the inconstant sand.

  • The water was cold and dark and empty and he hadn’t missed a swim in the four months and ten days since the divorce became final.

  • Roger was silhouetted in the doorway, facing in the direction I would come.

  • The fog lay heavily on the city the next morning, a grey blanket of mist that rose like a gas from the surrounding fens.

  • Together they waged a perfunctory battle against the outrageous behavior of that place.

Answers and Explanations

1. They climbed the leeward side of a small hill, man and camel planting big clumsy feet in the inconstant sand.

Correct: One clause
"They" is the subject; "climbed" is the verb. "Planting" is a nonfinite verb form describing "man and camel."

2. The water was cold and dark and empty and he hadn’t missed a swim in the four months and ten days since the divorce became final.

Correct: Three clauses
"The water" and "was" are the subject and verb of the first clause; "he" and "hadn’t missed" are the subject and verb of the second clause, and "the divorce" and "became" are the subject and verb of the third clause.

3. Roger was silhouetted in the doorway, facing in the direction I would come.

Correct: Two clauses
"Roger" and "was silhouetted" are the subject and verb of the first clause; "I" and "would come" are the subject and verb of the second clause.

4. The fog lay heavily on the city the next morning, a grey blanket of mist that rose like a gas from the surrounding fens.

Correct: Two clauses
"The fog" and "lay" are the subject and verb of the first clause; "that" and "rose" are the subject and verb of the second clause.

5. Together they waged a perfunctory battle against the outrageous behavior of that place.

Correct: One clause
"They" is the subject and "waged" is the verb.

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