SKILL 7 : NOUN CLAUSE CONNECTORS

Skill 7 : Noun Clause Connectors

A noun is used as a subject or an object.

A noun clause is used as a subject or an object. In other words, a noun clause is used in the ame ways as a noun.

In Skill 7 we saw that noun clause connectors can be used to introduce noun clauses. In Skill 8 we will see that in some cases a noun clause connector is not just a connector; a noun clause connector can also be the subject of the clause at the same time. Study the clauses and connectors in the following sentences.

I know what happened yesterday

            NOUN CLAUSE AS OBJECT OF VERB

We are thinking about what happened yesterday.

                                  NOUN CLAUSE AS OBJECT OF PREPOSITION

In the first example, there are two clauses: I know and what happened yesterday. These two clauses are joined by the connector what. It is important to understand that in this sentence the word what serves two functions. It is both the subject of the verb happened and the connector that joins the two clauses.

In the second example, there are two clauses. In the first clause we is the subject of are thinking. In the second clause what is the subject of happened. What also serves as the connector that joins the two clauses. The noun clause what happened yesterday functions as the object of the preposition about.

WORDS USED TO INTRODUCE NOUN CLAUSE

  1. Question words :                                 2. Whether                  3. that

When               who     whose                   if

Where              whom

Why                what

How                which

QUESTION

Where does she live?

What did he say?

When do they arrive?

NOUN CLAUSE

  1. I don’t know  where she lives.
  2. I could’t hear what he said.
  3. Do you know when they arrive?
In (a) : where she lives is the object of the verb know. Do not use question word order in a noun clause. In a noun clause, the subject precedes the verb.

Notice : does, did and do are used in question but not in noun clause.

Who live there?

What happened?

Who is at the door?

  1. I don’t know who live there.
  2. Please tell me what happened.
  3. I wonder who is at the door.
In (d) : The word order is the same in both the question and the clause because who is subject in both.
Who is she?

Who are those men?

Whose house is that?

  1. I don’t know who is she.
  2. I don’t know who those men are.
  3. I wonder whose house that is.
In (g) : she is the subject of the question, so it is placed in front of the verb be in noun clause.
What didi she say?

What should they do?

  1. What she said surprised me.
  2. What they should do is abvious.
In (j) : what she said is the subject of the sentence. Notice in (k) : A noun clause subject takes a singular verb (e.g.,is).

The following example shows how this sentence pattern could be tested in the Structure section of the TOEFL test.

Example

The company was prepared for ________ happened with the economy.

(A) it
(B) the problem
(C) what
(D) when

EXERCISE : Each of the following sentences contains more than one clause. Underline the subjects once and the verbs twice. Circle the connectors. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).

1. The teacher heard who answered the question. (C)
Analysis:
Who answered the question is a noun clause connector, and the sentence is correct.
2. I do not understand it went wrong. (I)
Analysis:
it went wrong is a noun clause connector/subject. But, the sentence is incorrect.
It should be what went wrong
3. Of the three movies, I can’t decide which is the best. (C)
Analysis:
Which is the best is a noun clause connector/subject. The sentence is correct.

4. She did not remember who in her class. (I)
Analysis:
Who in her class is a noun clause connector, but the sentence is incorrect.
It should be Who is in her class.

5. No one is sure what did it happen in front of the building. (I)
Analysis:
What did it happen in front of the building is a nouc clause connector, but the sentence is incorrect.
It should be what happened in front of the building.

6. We found out which was her favorite type of candy. (C)
Analysis:
Which was her favorite type of candy is a noun clause connector/subject, and the sentence is correct.

7. Do you know what caused the plants to die? (C)
Analysis:
What caused the plants to die is a noun clause connector/subject and the sentence is correct.

8. I am not sure which it is the most important course in the program. (I)
Analysis:
which it is the most important course in the program is a nou clause connector/subject, but it is  incorrect.
It should be which is the most important course in the program.

9. We thought about who would be the best vice president.(C)
Analysis:
Who would be the best vice president is a noun clause connector, and the sentence is correct.

10. She saw what in the box in the closet. (I)
Analysis:
What in the box in the closet is a noun clause connector, but it is incorrect.
It should be what is in the box in the closet.

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