The clause


The clause is a grammatical unit that consists of at least one finite verb type and the complements this verb requires, depending on its valency.


Das Kind hat Angst.



It is possible that a clause includes verb arguments that are optional.


Das Kind unserer Nachbarn hat seit dem Autounfall auf der Autobahn große Angst vor Fahrzeugen.


In the German language, clauses that include one finite verb type are called simple clauses.



When more than one finite verb types exist in a clause, this clause is called complex.


A complex sentence consists of at least two clauses which are


1. either coordinate :


main clause + main clause Ich leihe dir das Geld, aber du gibst es mir morgen zurück.
subordinate clause + subordinate clause MC, weil er keine Lust hatte und weil er müde war.


2. or subordinate :


main clause + subordinate clause Er vertraut ihm nicht, obwohl er sein bester Freund ist.
subordinate clause + subordinate clause MC, dass er nicht kommen kann, weil er krank ist.


The difference between the main clause and the subordinate clause is that the former can stand alone in speech, while the latter cannot. A subordinate clause always depends on another clause.



Clauses are classified in the following categories, according to the meaning the speaker intends to convey:


declarative clauses Patrick besucht uns morgen.
interrogative clauses Besucht uns Patrick morgen?
imperative clauses Besuch uns morgen!
optative clauses Wenn uns Patrick doch morgen besuchen würde!
exclamative clauses Ah, Patrick besucht uns morgen!



According to the place of the verb in the clause, they are categorized in


  Examples verb place
Kernsatz Patrick besucht uns morgen. second place
Stirnsatz Besucht uns Patrick morgen? first place
Spannsatz dass Patrick uns morgen besucht. final place



A clause consists of several parts that are called clause constituents. They include one or more words and are: the subject, the predicate, the object, the adverbials.


The various types of sentence structure indicate which constituents are necessary for building a sentence, while word order indicates the syntactic order of the constituents within the sentence.


Finally, in Negation we will be dealing with the ways to express denial of the clause content.