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n. a linguistic unit smaller than a sentence but larger than a phrase; in traditional grammar, a clause is defined as having both a subject and a finite verb (i.e., one that agrees with the subject in number and person). Clauses are usually divided into two principal types: main clauses, which make sense by themselves and can constitute a sentence in their own right, and subordinate clauses, which are dependent on a main clause in both these respects. In I smiled at Jane, who waved back, for example, the words before the comma constitute a main clause and those after the comma are a subordinate clause. In psycholinguistics, clauses are considered to be an important unit of sentence processing. Sentences that are complex from a syntactic point of view, in that they contain one or more subordinate clauses, are also considered psychologically more complex. See complex sentence; coordination. —clausal adj.

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Psychology term of the day

April 17th 2024

axial gradient

axial gradient

the difference in development or metabolic rate of tissues along a body axis. See also anterior–posterior development gradient.