Noun clauses

A noun clause is a subordinate clause that acts as a noun or pronoun and answers a question who or what. A noun clause can be introduced by either a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun. Sometimes the relative pronoun is dropped.

Noun clause as a subject
What I think is none of your business.
Whatever you want to do after lunch is fine with me.

Noun clause as a direct object
Peter asked if he could borrow a car.
It is not absolutely sure whether he takes part in a competition or not.

Noun clause as an indirect object
Peter promised an award whoever finds his missing cat.
Jane sent a kiss that man in a front row.

Noun clause as a predicate nominative
Love is all what people need.
The good thing was that they did not have to do it again.

Noun clause as an object of a preposition
I am interested in what we are going to do with it.
He wrote a book about what he had found during his trips.

Noun clause as an object complement
They named him whatever they call the president in that country.

I think that the grammar jargon is not as important as the ability to create proper sentences using the pattern shown above.

Noun clause used as an object is very common in academic writing and I am going to show a few common forms of the usage of a noun clause in academic writing.

Reported speech after verbs: say, state, report, claim, argue.

He said that he wanted to give up smoking.
He told me that he wanted to give up smoking.

In both cases the red part is a direct object, me - indirect object or recipient.

Peter told me that although he loved the language, he hated working on grammar.

Sentences with such verbs, like: prove, show, mean, demonstrate.
This shows that the public investment in certain goods can benefit the whole society.
These data demonstrate that while some cases of cheating are intentional, the great majority arise from a lack of understanding.

Other common sentences beginning with: It is plus + adjective/passive voice + that + noun clause.
It is believed that the Earth is a planet.
It is widely understood that...noun clause.
It is clear/unclear that /why... noun clause.

He does not know why she left so early.
It is not clear whether or not punishment is the best way to deter plagiarism in papers.

Results from a study questioned whether treatment with the drug really improved survival.
(Cambridge dictionary)


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