English Grammar Online Practice Test- Get a Preview of our Free Sample Exam!

Know what to expect in our free 10-question Middle School Grammar Test!

Read the sentence.

After the Great Fire in 1666 destroyed London, the capital city of England, architect Sir Christopher Wren led the process of rebuilding the city.

What is the main clause in this sentence?

A. After the Great Fire in 1666 destroyed London

B. the capital city of England

C. architect Sir Christopher Wren led the process of rebuilding the city

D. led the process of rebuilding the city


Answer & Explanation
The correct answer is (C).

A main clause (also called an independent clause), must always contain a subject and a verb and make sense when standing alone. This is different from a dependent clause, which also contains a subject and a verb but does not make sense when standing alone, and many times starts with a subordinating conjunction (after, before, even though, until etc.).
A sentence might also include an appositive, which is a noun or a noun phrase that renames the noun that appears right before it.

You can split the above sentence into three parts:

1) "After the Great Fire in 1666 destroyed London": this part is a dependent clause as it starts with the subordinating conjunction "after" so it does not make sense when standing alone – you do not know what happened after London had been destroyed. This is answer (A) so this answer can be eliminated.

2) "the capital city of England": this part is an appositive, as "the capital city of England" is another name for London. This is answer (B) so this answer can be eliminated.

3) "architect Sir Christopher Wren led the process of rebuilding the city": this is an independent clause as it contains a subject (Sir Christopher Wren) and a verb (led), and makes sense when standing alone. Thus, this is the main clause and as it is answer (C) – this is the correct answer.

Answer (D) is incorrect as it does not contain a subject, thus this is not a clause.

English Grammar & the Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Academic institutions across the United States use the Common Core Standards as a way to map out students's academic journeys from grade to grade, and keep each individual on the same level prior to entering the next grade. TestPrep-Online's upcoming Middle School Grammar Practice Test Pack will be rooted in these Standards.

Examples of Grade 5 Grammar Requirements

  • Using and understanding prepositions, interjections, and conjunctions
  • Using and understanding the perfect tenses (she had eaten, she has eaten, she will have eaten, etc.)
  • Choosing the correct verbs and tenses to convey specific times, as well as states, sequences, and conditions
  • Understanding and mending incorrect use of shifts in verb tense
  • Using and understanding correlative conjunctions (either/or, neither/nor, etc.)


Examples of Grade 6 Grammar Requirements

  • Using and understanding proper pronoun case (possessive, objective, and subjective)
  • Using and understanding intensive pronouns (yourself, myself, etc.)
  • Understanding and mending incorrect shifting between person and pronoun number (for example, they VS she/he)
  • Recognizing divergence from Standard English in writing and pinpointing and using ways to improve expression in conventional writing


Examples of Grade 7 Grammar Requirements

  • Understanding the differences between compound-complex, complex, and compound sentences and being able to explain the use of each these types in conveying ideas
  • Pinpointing the uses of compounds and phrases both individually and in context of a sentence
  • Recognizing misplaced and dangling modifiers and being able to correct them 
  • Being able to correctly place clauses and phrases within a sentence in order to convey specific ideas and/or concepts

How to Study English Grammar

Figuring out how to best study English grammar can be tricky. Don't worry; we're here to help! Check out our tips below.

  • Learn how to write correctly through writing incorrectly. You can't fix a mistake until you actually make one...so make sure to make plenty! Write blind-folded, so to speak (you want to actually see the paper, of course!), and feel free! Once you're done, that's when it's time to bring out the red pen (again, so to speak...you can use any pen really)
  • You are what you read. What you choose to read can greatly impact how you write. Make sure to squeeze in some well-written texts into your daily schedule. Keep it varied too, from nonfiction to fiction.
  • Edit your own writing before having others do it. It may be tempting to just hand over your writing exercises to others and have them correct your work. However, the knowledge you will be able to absorb from this will be merely passive, and not nearly as effective as it would be if you'd give yourself the chance to edit first. 
  • Look for patterns in your mistakes. Your mistakes are the indicators of what you need to work on most. Notice issues with prepositions in your writing? Start with those! Having trouble with present perfect verb tense? Make time to perfect it first! 
  • Use flashcards...with caution! Flashcards can be an excellent way to memorize grammatical formulas, and can help you get one step closer to internalizing rules. However, remember to use flashcards with a grain of salt, since when it comes to English, rules are very often there to be broken.
  • Remember: Bad sentences are clause for alarm. Take the time to understand the variety of clauses used in English. Very often clause-based mistakes can be the hardest to spot.
  • Use English grammar practice tests. A solid English Grammar Test can be an excellent way to measure grammatical knowledge and even add some sense of time limitation. The beauty of a test is its ability to add just the right amount of pressure to keep you focused. Try a free sample of our upcoming English Grammar Online Practice Test, and start preparing today!

Coming Soon: Middle School Grammar Practice Pack

TestPrep-Online will soon release a Middle School Grammar Practice Pack covering material aimed for grades 5, 6, and 7. Our pack will focus on Common Core topics such as sentence structure, parts of speech, punctuation, and even spelling and capitalization. In addition to practice tests and answer explanations, the pack will include study guides to help the student work through each topic.

Note: All material included in the pack will be taken from our MAP Practice Packs.

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