What are noun clauses?
A noun clause is a DEPENDENT CLAUSE (with its own subject, verb, and idea)
It "is used as a subject of an object. In other words, a noun clause is used in the same ways as a noun."
(source: Azar (1989), Understanding and Using English Grammar, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall Regents, pg 263)
For practice finding noun clauses in sentences, try these practice exercises:
How are noun clauses used in sentences?
As the subject, they might look like this: How she answered the question surprised me.
As a direct object of a verb, they might look like this: I wonder whose house that is.
Or as the object of an adjective expression: It is obvious that they are tired.
As an object of a preposition, they might look like this: I do not agree with what they said.
As a predicate noun, they might look like this: His difficulty is that he cannot read.
For practice identifying how a noun clause is being used, try these exercises:
Practice 4 (printable- find AND identify its function)
In what kinds of situations do we use noun clauses?In addition to the examples above, we might use noun clauses in...
Indirect reported speech:
- I told him that we needed a new car.
- For more information about and practice with indirect reported speech, please visit this earlier blog post.
After certain verbs: (such as ask, advise, beg, demand, forbid, insist, order, prefer, propose, require, recommend, request, suggest, urge)
- She advised that we prepare a bit more extensively for our exams.
- We need a special verb form when we do this! Check out this
- PRACTICE 5: "Eng-vid"video and quiz for more information on the mysterious "subjunctive tense"
(Verb list from source: Lane & Lange (1993), Writing Clearly, 3rd ed., Heinle Cengage Learning, p 141)
To talk about "mental activity" (with such verbs as believe, decide, know, learn, realize, remember, think, understand)
- I believe that she has difficulty with noun clauses in her writing.
With "embedded questions":
- Could you please tell me what you are doing?
- For practice with embedded questions, try this:
How many kinds of noun clauses are there, and what do they begin with?
They might begin with a question word: (what, when, where, who, why, how, whom, whose, which)
- I don't know why you are so stubborn.
- I don't know if she will join us.
- I wonder whether we should wait for him.
- I know that she is late for class.
- It is obvious that she is tired. She is sleeping at her desk.