A noun is a person, place, or thing.
A noun phrase is a noun plus some more
Example: a business woman, a small city, my pink
A noun clause is a dependent clause which behaves as a
noun (or a noun phrase).
Noun phrase: my pink shoes
Noun clause: what I’m wearing on my feet
How is a noun clause made?
It begins with a noun-clause-word (NCW) that introduces
the clause and is then followed by a subject and a verb.
NC=NCW (noun clause word) + S + V
Noun clauses sometimes look like questions, but
they are not questions.
Just like adjective and adverb clauses, noun
clauses are dependent clauses, which means
that they cannot exist alone.
S + V inside the noun clause MUST AGREE!
There are 3 ways to introduce a noun clause.
A. Question words
(Who, whom, what , when, where, why, whose+ noun,
how, how + adj., how + adv., how much/many + noun,
which + noun, whichever, whatever, whoever, and
B. Whether or IF
Q: Where doesTiehaolive?
Q: What time is it?
NC: what time it is
Q: When will you be home?
NC: when you will be home
Q: Why did you leave?
NC: why you left
Q: What has he accomplished?
NC: what he has accomplished
Do you see the difference between a question and a noun
There are 5 ways to make a noun clause with whether or if:
Whether + S +V
I wonder whether Orlando is coming to the party
2. Whether or not + S + V
I wonder whether or not Orlando is coming to the party.
Whether + S + V + or not
I wonder whether Orlando is coming to the party or not.
If + S + V
I wonder if Orlando is coming to the party.
If + S + V + or not
I wonder if Orlando is coming to the party or not
They all mean the EXACT SAME THING!
NOTE: I wonder if or not Orlando is coming to the party.
Remember the formula:
NC= NCW + S + V
understand the problem
that he is here
that Holly is a good teacher
that I have no idea what’s happening today
(Insert “It is certain” before each of the above
A. Object of the verb
B. Object of the preposition
A. Subject complement
B. Adjective complement
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Where you’re from doesn’t matter in the USA.
Whether you pass (or not)depends on you.
That he was late for classdoesn’t bother me.
Note: You cannot use “if” to introduce a subject
If you pass or not depends on you.
A. Object of the verb
Do you knowwhen class ends?
Can you tell me if the bus passes here or not?
I don’t understandwhy some students don’t do their homework.
Can you seewhat I can see?
You can bring/say/askwhatever you want.
You can do it however you wish.
I don’t carewho you are, where you’re from, what you did (as long as you
*Did you hear [that]Shaheenhad a car accident?
*When that introduces an object clause, it can be omitted with no change in
Did you hearShaheenhad a car accident?
B. Object of the preposition (*not for “that-clauses”)
Let’s talk abouthow much the new car will cost.
Dorotyis interested inwhat the teacher told the class.
Sarah is upset aboutwhatMaryamsaid.
I’m worried about whether you’ll pass this class or not.
*I’m worried aboutthat you’re late.
However, we could substitute the fact that and then this will work.
I’m worried aboutthe fact that you’re late.
I’m impressed bythe fact that you showed up.
There are many verb + preposition combinations to learn (talk about, think about,
worry about, etc.).
There are many adjective + preposition combinations too (happy with, afraid of,
sad about, bored with/by, frustrated with/by, angry with, worried about, etc.
When we have the verb “be,” there is no object in the sentence. Rather, we have
something called a subject complement.
Consider the following examples:
1. Chloe is my friend.
2. My friend is Chloe.
Chloe and my friend are the same person! We can switch the order of the sentence with
no change in meaning.
In sentence 1, “Chloe” is the subject and “my friend” is the complement.
In sentence 2, “my friend” is the subject and “Chloe” is the complement.
1. This car is what I want.
2. What I want is this car.
“This car” and “what I want” are the same thing! We can switch the order of the
sentence with no change in meaning.
In sentence 1, “this car” is the subject. What I want is the subject complement (not the
object because there is no object!).
In sentence 2, what I want is the subject. “This car” is the complement.
(this means that the noun clause follows certain adjectives):
1. I am not surewhat he said.
2. Are you certain [that] he’s coming?
3. Was it clearwhat I meant?
4. Abdullah is excited[that] Saad is coming to visit.
5. It’s obvious [that] I haven’t been understood.
6. It’s not definite whether they understood the lesson (or not).
7. It’s amazinghow much you can learn if you try.
8. My mother was worried [that] my brother hadn’t arrived.
9. Luigi was amazedhow big her kittens were getting.
10. Holly was shocked [that] every student completed the blog work.
You notice [ ] around that because that can be removed from the
sentence with no change in meaning.
When that introduces an object noun clause or an adjective complement
clause , it can be omitted with no change in meaning.
In this case, that is purely a function word with no actual meaning.
1. I’m happy that you’re here.
2. I’m happy you’re here.
You told me that you would be here on time.
You told me you would be here on time.
Both sentences have the same meaning.
In spoken English, that is nearly always removed in these two cases.
In written English, that may be removed, but it should be kept in the sentence
if the meaning without it isn’t clear.
When that introduces a subject noun clause, it cannot be omitted.
Without it, the sentence won’t make sense.
1. That you’re here makes me happy.
2. You’re here makes me happy.
1. That you’re learning a lot this term impresses me.
2. You’re learning a lot this term impresses me.
We sometimes use “the fact that” in place of “that” in subject noun clauses.
1. The fact that you’re here makes me happy.
2. The fact that you’re learning a lot this term impresses me.
Note: Subject noun clauses beginning with that are formal.
A noun clause which comes from a question is called
an embedded question.
Embedded questions begin with:
1. ? words (for information questions)
2. whether or if (for yes/no questions)
Embedded questions are more polite than direct
An embedded question can occur within a question
or a statement.
What time is it? (Direct question)
Could you tell me what time it is? (More polite)
How far is it to the bus stop? (Direct question)
Do you know how far it is to the bus stop? (More
Is Ali coming to the party tonight? (Direct question)
Do you have any idea whether Ali is coming to the
party (or not)? (More polite)
With the modals can, could, and should inside the noun clause, it is possible to reduce
the noun clause to an infinitive phrase if and only if the subject of the sentence is the
same as the subject inside the noun clause.
I don’t know what I should do about the problem.
I don’t know what to do about the problem.
Could you tell me where I could get some cash?
Could you tell me where to get some cash?
She didn’t know where she should go or what she should do.
She didn’t know where to go or what to do.
Do you know how I can get an A in this class?
Do you know how to get an A in this class?
Does Adriana understand what Luke should do?
Try to reduce this. You will see that it is impossible. That’s because the subject of the
sentence—Adriana—is different than the subject of the noun clause—Luke.