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Types of dependent clauses

The three most common types of dependent clauses in Spanish are:

  1. Noun clauses (cláusulas nominales or cláusulas sustantivas). In this case, the entire clause serves as a noun, usually as the direct object of a verb. It is normally introduced with the conjunction que [that]. [In Spanish, the subjunctive mood will be used in the noun clause when the verb that governs the clause is one of influence, emotion, doubt, or negation; the indicative is used when the governing verb is one of truth, certainty, reporting, or affirmation.]
    Example: Quiero que vengas conmigo al concierto. I want you to come with me to the concert.
  2. Adjectival clauses (cláusulas adjetivales). Here, the entire clause takes on the function of an adjective, usually modifying a noun or pronoun, the antecedent (antecedente). Adjectival clauses are normally introduced by a relative pronoun such as que [which/that] quien (who), el que (which/that/who), or el cual (which/that/who). [In Spanish, we use the subjunctive mood in adjectival clauses when the antecedent is indefinite, nonexistent, or negated; the indicative is used when the antecedent is known or definite.]
    Example: Busco una secretaria que hable español. I'm looking for a secretary who speaks Spanish.
  3. Adverbial clauses (cláusulas adverbiales).  This type of clause is usually introduced by an adverbial conjunction, for example antes de que, cuando, mientras, or tan pronto como to list just a few. [The subjunctive is used for adverbial clauses when the action or state in the clauses is anticipated —i.e., viewed as not yet happening— or hypothetical; the indicative is used when the action or state in the clause is viewed as a customary one or one which has been completed.]
    Example: Iremos tan pronto como llegue Juanita. We'll leave as soon as Juanita arrives.

Practice in identifying the types of clauses. Underline the dependent clauses in the sentences given below and identify each as being a noun clause, adjectival clause, or adverbial clause, using an appropriate abbreviation such as noun, adj., or adv. Note: a sentence may contain more than one dependent clause, or none at all.

  1. No me dijiste que ibas a Guatemala.

  2. No he visto a nadie que sea tan generosa como ella.

  3. Cuando me desperté me encontré en algo que parecía una selva.

  4. Me gustó que usted nos lo explicara tan inteligentemente.

  5. No vamos a hacer el viaje aunque reparemos el coche.

  6. Yo lo creo todo porque tú me lo contaste.

  7. Yo te daré la respuesta que buscas cuando me confieses qué hiciste anoche.

  8. ¿Dónde está mi cámara, Manuel?

  9. Antes de jugar, planeemos lo que vamos a hacer.

  10. Ojalá que salgamos bien en el examen que nos darán mañana.

[Answers]


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