A noun clause is a kind of subordinate clause. It serves the same purpose as a noun.
For example, a noun clause can be:
- The subject of a verb
- The object of a transitive verb
- The object of a preposition
- The complement of a verb of incomplete predication
- A noun clause can also be used in apposition to a noun or pronoun.
Noun clause as the subject of a verb
Read the following sentences.
- That you should behave so rudely surprises me. (What surprises me? – that you should behave so rudely)
- What you did was wrong.
- How the thieves escaped from the prison is the question.
- Why he left in a hurry is not clear.
- Whether we can start tomorrow is not certain.
Noun clause as the object of a transitive verb
The noun clause can be the object of a transitive verb.
- He says that he won’t be able to go.
- I hoped that I would get the first prize.
- She said that she would come.
- She confessed that she had taken the money.
- I don’t know why he is angry with me.
- Tell me what you want.
- No one knows where he has disappeared.
- Ask if he is coming.
When the noun clause is the object of the verb, it usually starts with the conjunction that, if, why, what or whether.
Noun clause as the object of a preposition
The noun clause can be the object of a preposition.
- There is no point in what he says.
- Pay attention to what I am saying.
The noun clause can be used in apposition to a noun or pronoun.
- I admire your belief that you are always right. (Here the noun clause ‘that you are always right’ is used in apposition to the noun belief.)
- Her statement that she is innocent cannot be believed. (Here the noun clause ‘that she is innocent’ is used in apposition to the noun statement.)
The noun clause can also be used as the complement of a verb of incomplete predication.
Be (is, am, are, was and were) is the most common verb of incomplete predication.
- The mother’s constant prayer was that her child might survive.
- This is where I live.
- My belief is that she will come.