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I'm a native English speaker and have privately taught English for over thirty-five years. I never did well with grammar in primary school although my writing always gained me top place and close to 100 percent marks in tests and exams. We studied literature but no grammar for English at high school. In Year 12 (my last year of schooling, and the last year of high school here before one begins university) I gained a State award for 100 percent in English.
A couple of years ago I began a Facebook page where I help group members with English. Many of those joining recently are either university students or teachers who are not native English speakers. No problems, until I started getting asked questions where grammatical terms were being used in the questions. Still no problems; I understood the concepts, they were natural to me. I just had to start learning the language of grammar so that I understood what these members were referring to.
But now I've come to a point where I am stuck, and it seems no matter how hard I try, and how many explanations I've read on the internet, I still cannot understand what clauses are all about, and more importantly the WHY of them and what they are used for. Why do we need them when all parts of sentences are already divied up, named, and their uses explained?
The problem is that one of my group members has asked me to explain them to him. I don't want to just parrot what I've read, or he will still be in the same situation he is now, and I will be too.
Please can anyone explain to me why we use the term 'clause', and exactly what a clause is used for? Why do we need to find a clause when we've already covered all the contents of a sentence with other grammatical terms?
Because I feel lost and lacking in understanding of this aspect of grammar, I'm not even sure if my questions clearly ask what I need to know. Help!


There is a huge amount of information on the Internet about this subject.

Even the OED has a reasonable definition; see here:

And Wiki is not too bad; see here:

If you have any specific questions about clauses, you can ask here and I'll try to help you.