Subordinate noun clauses, also known as noun clauses or substantivas, are an essential component of English grammar. They play a crucial role in providing additional information and adding depth to sentences. In this article, we will explore what subordinate noun clauses are, their functions, and how to classify them. Understanding these clauses will help you improve your English writing and communication skills.
What Are Subordinate Noun Clauses?
Subordinate noun clauses are groups of words that function as nouns within a sentence. Unlike independent clauses, which can stand alone as complete sentences, subordinate noun clauses cannot function independently. Instead, they rely on the main clause for context and meaning. These clauses typically begin with subordinating conjunctions or relative pronouns and perform various functions within a sentence.
Functions of Subordinate Noun Clauses
- Subject of the Verb:
- Example: What she said is important. (The subordinate noun clause “What she said” acts as the subject of the verb “is.”)
- Object of the Verb:
- Example: I believe that you can do it. (The subordinate noun clause “that you can do it” functions as the direct object of the verb “believe.”)
- Object of a Preposition:
- Example: He is interested in what she does. (The subordinate noun clause “what she does” acts as the object of the preposition “in.”)
- Subject Complement:
- Example: Her wish is that he succeeds. (The subordinate noun clause “that he succeeds” serves as a subject complement, renaming the subject “wish.”)
- Example: The question, whether he will come, remains unanswered. (The subordinate noun clause “whether he will come” functions as an appositive, providing additional information about “the question.”)
Classifying Subordinate Noun Clauses
Subordinate noun clauses can be classified into various types based on their content and function:
- Content Clauses: These clauses provide essential information and often start with words like “what,” “who,” “where,” “when,” and “why.”
- Example: She told me why she was late.
- Indirect Questions: These clauses are used to form indirect questions and typically begin with question words.
- Example: I wonder whether he can come to the party.
- That-Clause: These clauses start with the word “that” and can function in various ways within a sentence.
- Example: It is essential that you understand the concept.
- Wh-Clause: These clauses begin with words like “who,” “whom,” “whose,” “which,” and “whosever.”
- Example: Whoever arrives first will get the prize.
- If/Whether-Clause: These clauses often introduce conditional statements or express doubt.
- Example: I’m not sure whether he will agree to the terms.
Subordinate noun clauses, or substantivas, are versatile and indispensable elements of English grammar. They add depth and complexity to sentences by functioning as subjects, objects, or complements within a sentence. By understanding the various functions and types of subordinate noun clauses, you can enhance your writing and communication skills, making your sentences more informative and engaging. Practice incorporating these clauses into your writing to become a more proficient English speaker and writer.