A noun clause is a dependent clause and
cannot stand alone as a sentence. It must be connected to an
independent clause, a main clause. A noun clause has its own subject
and verb. It can begin with a question word. It can begin with if or
whether. And it can begin with that.
clauses with question words:
The following question words can be used
to introduce a noun clause: when, where, why, how, who, whom, what,
Answer this question using 'I don't
Where does Maria live?
I don't know -------------.
It is incorrect to say, "I don't know
where does she live."
Notice that "does she live" is a
question form. Noun clauses cannot be in question form; it has
to be a statement.
"I don't know where she lives" is
the correct answer.
Respond to these questions using I don't
1- How old is Kate?
2- Where did Juan go?
3- Why did Maria
4- What did she say?
5- When is she going to
6- What country is Maria
7- What is that girl's
Now compare your sentences to
1- I don't know how old she
2- I don't know where he
3- I don't know why she
4- I don't know what she
5- I don't know when she is
going to leave.
6- I don't know what country
she is from.
7- I don't know what her
clauses with who, what, whose + be:
A noun or pronoun that follows main verb
'be' in a question comes in front of 'be' in a noun
Example: --> Who is that boy?
I don't know who that boy is.
--> Whose pen is this?
I don't know whose pen this is.
A prepositional phrase does not come in
front of 'be' in a noun clause.
Example: --> Who is in the
I don't know who is in the office.
--> Whose pen is on the desk?
I don't know whose pen is on the desk.
Notice that usual word order is not used
when the question word is the subject of the question as in 'who' and
'what'. In this case, the word order in the noun clause is the
same as the word order in question.
Be sure to complete the exercises in the
clauses, which begin with if or whether:
When a yes/no question is changed to a
noun clause, if is usually used to introduce the
Example: --> Is Maria at home?
I don't know if Maria is at home.
--> Does this bus go to Los Angeles?
I don't know if this bus goes to Los Angeles.
--> Did Juan go to Mexico?
I wonder if Juan went to Mexico.
Frequently, speakers may add 'or
not'. This comes at the end of the noun clause in sentences with
'if' and immediately after 'whether' in sentences with
Example: --> I don't know if Maria is
at home or not.
--> I don't know whether or not Maria is at home.
Notice that we cannot use 'or not'
immediately after 'if'.
c) Noun clauses which
begin with that:
A noun clause can be introduced by the
--> I think that
Ms. Weiss is a good teacher.
In the sentence above, 'Ms. Weiss is a
good teacher' is a noun clause. It is the object of the verb
That clauses are frequently used as the object of
verbs which express mental activity. Here are some common verbs
followed by 'that clauses'.
Assume that believe
that discover that dream that
Guess that hear
that hope that know
Learn that notice
that predict that prove
Realize that suppose that
suspect that think that
There are many more verbs that can be
followed by "that" clause.
an exercise for you:
Complete the following with your own
words. Use noun clauses.
1- I feel that ----
2- I wonder if -----
3- You are lucky that
4- It is a fact that
5- I doubt that
6- I am worried that
7- I don't know when
8- I don't know if
9- I regret that
10- I am amazed that -------
1- I feel that she will do
well on the test.
2- I wonder if she is coming
to the part.
3- You are lucky that won
4- It is a fact that Mr.
Lopez is a good teacher.
5- I doubt that she will
6- I am worried that they
won't win the game.
7- I don't know when she
8- I regret that she failed
9- I don't know if she lives
in New York or not.
10- I am amazed that we made it to
the airport on time.