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Noun Clause. Another type of Subordinate Clause. Functions as a noun It can do anything a noun can do It can act as a subject, a direct object, a predicate nominative, an indirect object, or the object of a preposition It can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.

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noun clause

Noun Clause

Another type of Subordinate Clause

slide2

Functions as a noun

  • It can do anything a noun can do
  • It can act as a subject, a direct object, a predicate nominative, an indirect object, or the object of a preposition
  • It can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence
certain words usually introduce a noun clause
Certain words usually introduce a noun clause
  • How
  • If
  • That
  • What
  • Whatever
  • When
  • Where
  • Whether
  • Which
  • Whichever
  • Who
  • Whoever
  • Whom
  • Whose
  • Why
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The lawyer instructed Betty to testify truthfully about whether she knew the suspect. [object of a preposition]

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As you write, you don’t have to identify how noun clauses function in sentences. Think of them as just another tool to express ideas and vary sentence structure.

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Sometimes, the introductory word of a noun clause is omitted because it is understood. The sentences below make sense if you read them with or without the bracketed word.

  • The prosecutor hopes [that] the jury will convict the suspect.
  • The defense lawyer knows [that] he has a strong case.
editing tip
Editing Tip
  • Only omit the introductory word in a noun clause if it doesn’t cause misunderstanding.
  • Unclear –Tom didn’t believe Jerry would leave town.
  • Clear – Tom didn’t believe that Jerry would leave town.
  • Unclear- Mom didn’t say you called.
  • Clear- Mom didn’t say that you called.
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