Complex Sentence: Noun Clauses

We have seen that a noun clause is a type of dependent clauses which does the work of a noun in a complex sentence.

Since a noun clause does the work of a noun in a complex sentence, it can be:

  1. The subject of a verb.
  2. The object of a transitive verb.
  3. The object of a preposition.
  4. In apposition to a noun or pronoun.
  5. The complement of a verb of incomplete prediction.

In each of the following complex sentences, the noun clause is the subject of the verb:

  • How he could assist me was his concern.
  • Whether we can start next week seems uncertain.
  • That you did so surprises me.
  • What I said was true.
  • When he will return is uncertain.
  • Why Anne hung herself is mystery.

In each of the following complex sentences, the noun clause is the object of a transitive verb:

  • Please tell me why you did this.
  • I do not know when she will return.
  • I cannot tell what has become of him.
  • I asked the man how old he was.
  • He says that he won’t leave.
  • I hoped that it was not true.
  • She denied that she met him yesterday.
  • Tell me where you like to live.
  • Nobody knows who he is.
  • Ask if he is at office.

In each of the following complex sentences, the noun clause is the object of a preposition:

  • There were no complaints except that the start was bit too late.
  • Pay attention to what I am now going to say.
  • There is no meaning in what you said.

In each of the following complex sentences, the noun clause is in apposition to a Noun or Pronoun:

  • You shall never forget this, that honesty is the best policy.
  • It was unfortunate that you were sick that day.
  • Her confession that you found the money in the street will not be believed.
  • His belief that some day he would succeed made him determined.
  • It is feared that they will not return.

In each of the following Complex sentences, the noun clause is used as the complement of a verb of in complete predication:

  • Her constant belief was that the infant might live.
  • My wish is that I may please you.
  • His great fear is that he may not succeed.
  • My belief is that she will not come.
  • Life is what we make it.
  • This is where I live.

A clause coming after a construction consisting of an intransitive verb (particularly the verb to be) and an adjective does the work of noun and is, therefore, treated as a noun clause.

In each the following complex sentences, the noun clause comes after an intransitive verb construction:

  • The sick man was sure that he would recover someday.
  • The boy was afraid that he would fall down.
  • All of us are so keen that you should succeed.
  • They felt very sorry that they lost the match at the end.

From the above examples it will be seen that a noun clause is generally introduced by the subordinating Conjunction that. Sometimes, however, the conjunction that is omitted; as,

I know (that) you did it.

Sometimes, instead of a noun clause introduced by that, the accusative with the infinitive is used.

  • He thought that he was safe there.

He thought himself to be safe there.

  • I believed that he was a true friend.

I believed him to be a true friend.

  • This proved that the man had stolen the horse.

This proved the man to have stolen the horse.

  • We know that Rama is alive.

We know Rama to be alive.

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