A noun clause is a subordinate clause that functions like noun. Like all clauses, a noun clause has a subject and a verb but cannot stand on its own. Noun clause generally answers the question ‘what’ and frequently begins with that
, or whose
. Other words that introduce noun clauses are wh-question words, if,
There are two common types of noun clauses
- Noun clauses derived from Statements, verb + that clause
- Noun clauses derived from Questions, wh-question and yes/no questions
Noun Clauses from Statements “Verb + that”
All noun clauses from statements are introduced by the subordinate conjunction ‘that’. The sole function of that
is to link a noun clause to the main clause of the sentence.
- Alisha’s greatest strength is that she always worked hard to learn new things.
- We knew that this would happen.
- Charles could not accept that he had done something bad.
- It was Casey’s idea that we go to the concert.
- The teacher understood that the students lack basic math skills.
Noun Clauses from Wh-question words
The wh-question words introduce noun clauses derived from information questions.
| Wh Question
|| Noun Clause
| Where is the train station?
|| They asked where the train station is.
| What should I do?
|| Please tell me what I should do.
| When will Jacob be discharged from the hospital?
|| We are not sure when Jacob will be discharged from the hospital.
| Who is her friend?
|| I don’t know who her friend is.
Noun clauses from yes/no questions
are introduced by whether
| Yes/No Question
|| Noun Clause
| Do you like it?
|| I am going to buy it whether she likes it or not.
| Will this plan work?
|| We are uncertain whether or not this plan will work.
| Will Bob offer us more money?
|| I don’t know if Bob will offer us more money.
| Is she a singer?
|| I wonder if she is a singer.
Noun clauses perform the same functions in sentences that nouns do. They act as subject, subject complement, object, object of preposition, and adjective complement.Examples:
1. Whoever is in charge of this project
should read these guidelines.
2. Hardy’s problem is that he cannot grasp the basic concepts of mathematics
↓ Subject Complement
3. You can buy whatever you want
↓ Direct Object
4. Please give whoever volunteered to help clear up a big round of applause
↓ Indirect Object
5. Huck did not listen to what the teacher said
↓ Object of preposition
6. The tourists were happy that the rain had stopped
↓ Adjective complementTest Yourself
Underline the noun clause in the following sentences.
- The committee announced a reward of $1,000 to whoever wins the competition.
- Ask your brother what he wants to eat now.
- I bet that he would win the game.
- The sheriff didn’t agree to what the kidnappers demanded.
- I’m not sure where I left my car key.
Underline the noun clause in the following sentences and mention the function of the noun clauses.
- Whoever signs up this week will get a discount.
- We didn’t know that he will be coming today.
- The teacher was responsible for what the children did in the class.
- The kid was sad that he had to leave his mother.
- I wonder whether or not the team is prepared to perform the task.