Clause – proposition


Let's Define It!

What's a *clause*?

A clause, known as une preposition in French, is a group of word that include at least a subject and a verb.

When a clause forms a sentence that stands by its own, we call it une proposition indépendante (independent clause)-->

Je mange du pain tous les matins (I eat bread every morning).

Sometimes, though, a clause can contain more than a subject and verb. In other words, a clause can contain one or more clauses within it. In this case, the clause being contained is called the proposition subordonnée (subordinate clause), while the container-clause is called proposition principale (main clause).

Differentiating a main clause from a subordinate is usually easy. A simple (non-grammatical) trick is to ask yourself whether the clause in front of you can be understood on its own. If the answer is yes, then you have a main clause. A subordinate clause will normally depend on the main one to gain full meaning. Check out this example:

Je mange du pain quand j'ai faim les matins. /  I eat bread when I'm hungry in the morning. 

The main clause, as you've probably guessed it is "Je mange du pain" (easy to understand). The subordinate clause is "quand j'ai faim les matins" --> You would not be able to understand ..."when I'm hungry in the morning"  (which looks incomplete) without the help of the main clause "I eat bread"



Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Example of a single independant clause:

Alan est quelqu'un de très prudent /Alan is a very careful person.

Example of a subordinate clause (underlined) following a main one:

Appelez la police si vous voyez le voleurCall the police if you see the thief.


Let's Take a Quiz!

What did you learn?