Sentence Elements
2.3C
Noun Clauses


Noun clauses

Like phrases, subordinate clauses can perform the function of the various parts of speech such as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. A subordinate clause which functions as a noun is called a noun clause and can serve as a:
Examples of a noun clause functioning as subject .
               Thomas made her angry.

                    "Thomas" is a proper noun, functioning as the
                    subject of this sentence.

               That he had even asked her made her angry.

                    The clause "that he had even asked her" is the
                    subject of this sentence.
Example of a noun clause functioning as a direct object .
               We discovered his arrogance.

                    "Arrogance" is the object of "discovered."

               We discovered what he had asked her.

                    The clause "what he had asked her" is the
                    object of the verb "discovered" in this
                    sentence.
Example of a noun clause functioning as an indirect object .
		We showed the professor the error.

		"The professor" in this sentence is the indirect
		object, and "the error" is the direct object.

		She gave every little error her full attention.

		The noun clause "every little error" is the indirect object,
		and "her full attention" is the direct object.  Remember that 
		the direct object should answer the question, "What did she 
		give?" while the indirect object answers, "To whom (or what) 
		did she give it?"
Example of a noun clause functioning as a predicate noun . (Remember that a predicate noun is a subject complement that renames the subject.)
               The insult was his audacity.

                    "Audacity" is an abstract noun which is
                    the subject complement (predicate noun) of the
                    subject "insult."

               The insult was that he had even asked her.

                    The clause "that he had even asked her" is the
                    predicate noun (subject complement) of this
                    sentence.
Example of a noun clause functioning as an object of a preposition .
               She found fault in his question.

                    "Question" is the object of the preposition
                    "in."

               She found fault in what he had asked her.

                    The clause "what he had asked her" is the
                    object of the preposition "in" in this
                    sentence.
Example of a noun clause functioning as an object complement .
               You can call him a scoundrel.

                    The word "scoundrel" is an object complement
                    that describes the direct object "him."

               You can call him what you wish.

                    The clause "what you wish" can take the place
                    of "scoundrel" as object complement.
Example of a noun clause as an appositive to the subject .
               We adults understand life better than children.

                    "Adults" is an appositive that defines the
                    subject "we."

               We that are older understand life better that
               children.


                    The clause "that are older" replaces the word
                    "adults" and becomes the appositive to the
                    subject.
Example of a noun clause acting as an appositive to the object.
               I hate those brats.

               I hate those that oppose me.
Noun Clauses

By clicking on a bubble, indicate the function of the highlighted noun clause. If your response shows as "Incorrect" in the status bar, you can click on the other answers to find the correct one (which will give you "Correct" in the status bar).

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Copyright © 1998
English Department
University of Calgary

Last update: July 26 1999