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A kernel clause in grammar is a simple subject and a simple predicate forming the basis of all sentences. A kernel clause may stand alone as a simple sentence (independent clause), or it is dependent on and joins with another independent clause to form a longer, more complicated sentence.
The reason for the terminology "kernel" when referring to these clauses is that each one provides the essential elements to form a perfect sentence.
A sentence talks about somebody or something (the subject). So, the subject, either a noun or pronoun, can be likened to the "germ" of the kernel clause. It tells everybody what the sentence is about. The verb, on the other hand, tells something about the subject. The two together make a complete sentence.
Any additions to a sentence making it longer or more complex make it so that it is no longer a kernel sentence. But, within the sentence, one can still see the original kernel clause that formed its foundation.
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