All English SMA N 1 SLAWI

noun clauses

Noun Clauses in Complex Sentences

source: Structure Reference Book II and III

A noun clause is a clause that does the work of a noun or noun phrase in a sentence. A noun clause is a dependent clause, i.e. it cannot stand alone as a sentence but is a part of the sentence in which it occurs, and performs one function in the sentence. It can function as

a. a subject

b. an object

c. a complement, etc.

in the sentence.

A sentence that contains at least one dependent clause is a complex sentence.

A. Noun Clauses as Subject

Frame la. Wh- word + Predicate as Noun Clause

COMPLEX SENTENCE

NOUN CLAUSE AS SUBJECT

PREDICATE

SUBJECT

PREDICATE

1

What

happened

made the boy cry.

2

Whoever

heard the dog

ran out of his house.

3

Who

was inside the cave

was not known.

Frame Ib. Wh – word + Subject + Verb as Noun Clause

.NOUN CLAUSE AS SUBJECT

PREDICATE

OBJECT, ETC.

SUBJECT + VERB

1

What

the man saw

was the big stone.

2

Why

the dog barked

puzzled the man.

3

What

they found

was a dying cat.

Frame Ic. That + Subject + Predicate as Noun Clause.

NOUN CLAUSE AS SUBJECT

PREDICATE

CLAUSE MARKER

SUBJECT + PREDICATE

1

That

something was wrong

was clear.

2

That

the dog couldn’t help his master

made it unhappy.

Usage

The subject of each of the complex sentences in the above frames is a noun clause.

The noun clause generally begins with a wh- word/wA- + ever such as what, who, why, whoever, etc. (See Frames la and Ib), or that (See Frame Ic).

a) The wh- word always functions as a sentence element in the noun clause. It may be theSubject, object, modifier, etc., in the noun clause itself.

Look at the noun clauses in Frame la, what, whoever, and who are the subjects in the respective noun clauses. In Frame Ib, sentences 1 and 3, ‘what’ is the modifier. Note that the word order after the wh- word is a statement word order.

b) The word that does not function as a sentence element in the noun clause. It is a clause marker whose function is to introduce the noun clause.

3. A noun clause introduced by that is not commonly used as subject. It is “more common to use the word ‘it’ in subject position, and the noun clause at the end of the sentence.

Example:

It was clear that the boy was unhappy.

B. Noun Clauses as Objects

Frame 2a. Noun Clauses as Direct Objects

COMPLEX SENTENCE

SUBJECT + VERB

INDIRECT OBJECT

NOUN CLAUSE AS DIRECT OBJECT

• ‘ • c; l../^^ -° ‘/ L

1

Have you decided

what you want to get?

2

We will buy.

whatever we need?

3

Can you tell

me

what they are?

4

Rim explained

(to her friend)

that there would be some games during the party?

Frame 2b. Noun Clauses as Indirect Objects

SUBJECT + VERB

NOUN CLAUSE AS INDIRECT OBJECT

DIRECT OBJECT

1

2

We plan to give

Let’s ask

whoever wins

who understand the game

a present.

to explain it.

Usage

A noun clause can be used as object m a complex sentence. It can function as a direct object or an indirect object. In sentences 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Frame 2a above, the noun clauses function as indirect objects.

A noun clause used as object is also introduced by either a wh-word or that.

a) The wh- word may be the subject, object, complement, etc. in the noun clause.

Look at sentences 1 and 2. The words ‘what’ and ‘whatever’ are the direct objects in the respective noun clauses. In sentence 3, ‘what’ is the predicate complement in the noun clause, and in sentences 1 and 2 in Frame 2b, ‘whoever’ and ‘who’ are the subjects of the respective noun clauses.

b) The word that has no function in the noun clause. It only introduces the clause. See sentence 4 above. In noun clauses used as objects, that can be omitted, especially in speaking.

Formal : Rini explained that there would be some games during the party. ‘ .

Spoken : Rini explained there would be some games during the party.

A noun clause is frequently used as a direct object of a verb of reporting, such as say, tell, ask, etc.

a) The noun clause may be a direct quotation.

Examples:

(1) Rini said, “There will be some games during the party.”

(2) Anas asked, “What things do you want to get?”

b) It may be an indirect quotation.

Examples:

(1) Rini said that there would be some games during the’ party.

(2) Anas asked what things she wanted to get.

The indirect quotation is introduced by the word that* unless the sentence it comes from begins with a wh- word, in which case the wh- word begins the noun clause.

“‘Note: 1) The word that is often omitted, especially in speaking.

Formal : Rini said that there would “be some games during the party.

Spoken : Rini said there would be some games during the party.

2) After the verb ‘ask’ the noun clause is introduced by whether or if, unless the sentence it comes from begins with a wh- word.

Example: Rini asked whether (if) there would be some games during the party.

Here is a list of verbs of reporting which may have noun clauses as their direct objects:

add confess inform report suggest admit demand mention reply tell ~’ announce discuss promise say answer exclaim remind shout ask explain repeat state

A noun clause may also be used as direct object of verbs like know, hope, think, etc.

Examples:

(1) I don’t know what I’m going to buy.

(2) I think that those books and pens are all right.

Just as with an indirect quotation, the noun clause after these verbs begins with the word that or a wh- word.

Here is a list of such verbs:

believe expect hear realize think consider feel hope regret ‘ understand decide find out know remember wonder discover forget learn see doubt ‘guess prove suspect

C. Noun Clauses as Complements

Frame 3a. Noun Clauses as Predicate Complements

• COMPLEX SENTENCE

SUBJECT

BE

NOUN CLAUSES AS PREDICATE COMPLEMENT

1

Books and pens

are

what we need.

2

The question

is

where we can buy them.

3

The problem

is

(that) we do not have much money.

Usage

1. A noun clause may also be used as a predicate complement after the linking verb be.

2. Noun clauses as predicate complements are introduced by the same words as other noun clauses, i.e. by wh- word (see sentences 1 and 2); or by that (see sentence 3). The word that is often omitted, especially in speaking.

Frame 3b. Noun Clause as Object Complements

SUBJECT +VERB

OBJECT

NOUN CLAUSE AS OBJECT COMPLEMENT

1

2

The games made They considered

the party

the presents

what it was.

what they really needed.

Usage

1. A noun clause may also be used as an object complement. It qualifies the direct object.

2. Noun clauses as object complements are introduced by what (see sentences 1 and 2 above).

D. Other uses of Noun Clauses

1. A noun clause may be used after a preposition. The noun clause generally begins with a wh- word.

Examples:

(1) We give a present to whoever wins the game.

(2) They have not decided on what they will buy for the presents.

A noun clause may be used after certain predicate adjective; to be happy, to be sorry, to be sure, etc. The noun clause is frequently introduced by that.

Examples:

(1) Rini and Anas are happy that there will be some games-during the party.

(2) Rini is sorry that most of the things in the store are too expensive.

3. A noun clause is fairly commonly used as an appositive ** The noun clause explains the noun/pronoun to which it is in apposition.

** Note: An appositive is a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause, occuring directly after another noun or pronoun, and referring to the same thing. The noun clause is introduced by that. The word that is never omitted.

Examples:

(1) The news that there will be some games during the party pleased them.

(2) The fact that the winners will be given presents made the games more interesting.

5 Responses

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  1. SUNNY said, on 22 May 2010 at 10:07 pm

    pls, i’m serious in need of this topic: all sentences are clauses but not clauses are sentences? discuss.

    • sunartonurnaeni said, on 21 June 2010 at 10:23 pm

      thank for asking, for i must think it. all sentences must contain at least a clause, and a clause is not always a sentence because there are two clauses in a complex sentence. one is a main clause and the second is a dependent clause, and the dependent clause cannot stand alone. so it cannot be a sentence.

    • sunartonurnaeni said, on 21 June 2010 at 10:27 pm

      my ym is sun_sun_man

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  3. dell streak 7 said, on 24 October 2011 at 8:05 pm

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