Types of Dependent Clauses  

Subjunctive Mood Dependent Clauses

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

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.

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.

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.

  • No me dijiste que ibas a Guatemala.

dep. clause: que ibas a Guatemala
type: noun (after a verb of reporting, dijiste)

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

dep. clause: que sea tan bondadosa como ella
type: adjectival (modifying a negated antecedent, nadie)

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

dep. clause: Cuando me desperté
type: adverbial (introduced by adverbial conjunction cuando; action viewed as completed)

dep. clause #2: que parecía una selva
type: adjectival (modifying a definite antecedent, algo)

  • Me gustó que usted nos lo explicara tan inteligentemente.

dep. clause: que usted nos lo explicara tan inteligentemente
type: noun (after a verb of emotion, gustó)

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

dep. clause: aunque reparemos el coche
type: advervial (introduced by an adverbial conjunction, aunque; action viewed as anticipated)

  • Yo lo creo todo porque tú me lo contaste.

dep. clause: porque tú me lo contaste
type: adverbial (introduced by the adverbial conjunction, porque; action viewed as completed)

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

dep. clause: que buscas
type: adjectival (modifying a definite antecedent, la respuesta)

dep. clause #2: cuando me confieses
type: adverbial (introduced by adverbial conjunction cuando; action viewed as anticipated)

dep. clause #3: qué hiciste anoche
type: noun (after a verb of reporting, confieses)

  • ¿Dónde está mi cámara, Manuel?

dep. clause: none
type: N/A

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

dep. clause: que vamos a hacer
type: adjectival (modifying a definite antecedent, lo)

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

dep. clause: que salgamos bien en el examen
type: noun (after an expression of emotion, ojalá)

dep. clause #2: que nos darán mañana
type: adjectival (modifying a definite antecedent, el examen)




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