Noun Clauses
Noun clauses perform the same function in sentences that nouns do. They can be the subject (What Billy did shocked his friends), the object of a verb (Billy’s friends didn’t know that he couldn’t swim.) , the subject complement (Billy’s mistake was that he refused to take lessons.), the object of the preposition (Mary is not responsible for what Billy did.), or an adjective complement (Everybody is sad that Billy drowned.)

Examples of noun clauses:
Noun clauses as subjects of verbs:

  • That George learned how to swim is a miracle.
  • Whether Fred can get a better job is not certain.
  • What Mary said confused her parents.
  • However you learn to spell is OK with me.

Noun clauses as objects of verbs:
  • We didn’t know that Billy would jump.
  • We didn’t know Billy would jump.
  • Can you tell me if Fred is here?
  • I don’t know where he is.
  • George eats whatever is on his plate.

Noun clauses as subject complements:
  • The truth is that Billy was not very smart.
  • The truth is Billy was not very smart.
  • The question is whether other boys will try the same thing.
  • The winner will be whoever runs fastest.

Noun clauses as objects of prepositions:
  • Billy didn’t listen to what Mary said.
  • He wants to learn about whatever is interesting.

Noun clauses as adjective complements:
  • He is happy that he is learning English.
  • We are all afraid that the final exam will be difficult.

  • Practice Exercises

Find the noun clauses in these sentences:

1. I am mad that you left my house so early.
2. That Tyler is a loud person is not a secret.
3. I will give the award to whoever does the best work.
4. Tom ate whatever you gave him.
5. That fat people like cake is a well known fact.
6.To understand a person, one must realize that they are the same as everyone else.
7. I would give up, but to do that would be too easy.
8. Justin Bieber hopes that one day he will hit puberty.
9. Ke$ha is that girl wearing the trash bag.
10. I will not tell you that you look stupid.