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What is a matrix clause?

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debudasir | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 18, 2011 at 4:25 AM via web

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What is a matrix clause?

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted June 28, 2011 at 2:01 AM (Answer #1)

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The source below says this about a clauses in gneneral.

"One clause may be embedded within another, that is, it may be used as a constituent part of another clause. Such a clause is called an embedded clause (or a subordinate clause) and the clause within which it is embedded is called the matrix clause. The embedded clause is a constituent of the matrix clause. A clause that could occur on its own as a sentence is called a main clause. In the following examples the embedded clauses are given in boldface; each of the matrix clauses is also a main clause: The boy who came is his cousin. I told him that I would go.

To explain this again, the matrix clause is an independent clause that could stand on its own and make perfect sense.  It is called a matrix clause when there are subordinate clauses in the sentence as well.  Subordinate clauses can appear anywhere in a sentence so it is important to note the subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun that usually introduces them if you are trying to identify the distinct clauses that make up a complete sentence.  In the example sentences above, "who" is a relative pronoun/subject of the verb "came."  That clause can't stand alone -- it is subordinate to the rest of the sentence -- it is part of the idea, but not the whole idea.  In the other example, "that" is is a subordinating conjunction introducing a subordinate clause.  Again, that part of the sentence can't stand alone, but provides more information and completes the thought of the independent (matrix) part of the sentence.


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shrinath | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted June 18, 2011 at 5:58 AM (Answer #2)

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Matrix clauses are co-extensive sentences i.e they are not subordinate to any other sentence in relation.

For example:1>How are you?

--> I'm fine.

Here i'm fine may be stated as...

--> I think i'm fine.--> This is a extensive sentence/Matrix clause.

-->I'm fine. --> This is a sub-ordinate clause.

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