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What Are Noun Clauses?

(with Examples)
A noun clause is a clause that plays the role of a noun. For example (noun clauses shaded):

I like what I see.

I know that the tide is turning.

I've met the man who won the lottery.

(Not all agree this is a noun clause. See Note on the right.)
Compare the three examples above to these:

I like cakes.

I know London.

I've met Madonna.

The words in bold are all nouns. This shows that shaded clauses in the first three examples
are functioning as nouns, making them noun clauses.
Like any noun, a noun clause can be a subject, an object, or a complement.
In a sentence, a noun clause will be a dependent clause. In other words, a noun clause does
not stand alone as a complete thought.

Examples of Noun Clauses


Here are some examples of noun clauses:

A person who trusts no one can't be trusted. (Jerome Blattner)


(This noun clause is the subject of the sentence.)
(Not all agree this is a noun clause. See Note on the right.)

That he believes his own story is remarkable. (Jerome Blattner)


(This noun clause is the subject of the sentence. Be aware that starting a sentence
with a noun clause starting That is acceptable, but it grates on lots of people's ears. As
a result, many writers prefer to precede it with "The fact".)

Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying. (Fran Lebowitz)
(This noun clause is the direct object of ask.)

He knows all about art, but he doesn't know what he likes. (James Thurber, 18941961)
(This noun clause is the direct object of know.)

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. (H L
Mencken, 1880-1956)
(This noun clause is the direct object of believe.)

I never know how much of what I say is true. (Bette Midler)


(This noun clause is an object of a preposition.)

Man is what he eats. (Ludwig Feuerbach)


(This noun clause is a subject complement.)

My one regret in life is that I am not someone else. (Woody Allen)


(This noun clause is a subject complement.)

An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible.


(Alfred A Knopf)
(This noun clause is a subject complement.)
(Not all agree this is a noun clause. See Note on the right.)

Pengertian Noun Clause

Noun Clause adalah dependent clause yang berfungsi sebagai noun (kata benda). Klausa kata
benda ini dapat berfungsi sebagai subject maupun object di dalam suatu clause atau phrase
lain. Karena berfungsi sebagai kata benda, maka dapat digantikan dengan pronoun it.
Contoh:

I forgot the fact. (noun)

I forgot it. (pronoun)

I forgot that the fact was very important. (noun clause)

Rumus Noun Clause

Noun clause dapat diawali oleh noun clause markers berupa question
word, if atau whether, dan that. Adapun contoh noun clause pada clause lain beserta detail
marker-nya dapat dilihat pada tabel sebagai berikut.
Marker

Detail

Question word:
what(ever), what (time,
kind, day, etc),
who(ever),
whose,
Question
whom(ever),
Word
which(ever),
where(ever),
when(ever),
how (long, far, many times,
old, etc)

if atau biasanya digunakan untuk


whether kalimat jawaban dari
pertanyaan yes-no
question atau bentuk
reported speech dari
pertanyaan tersebut

Contoh Kalimat Noun Clause


The class listened to what the teacher
said.
(Seluruh kelas mendengarkan apa yang
guru katakan.)
The kitten followed wherever the
woman went.
(Anak kucing mengikuti kemanapun
wanita itu pergi.)
Many people imagine how many time
the man was failed before success.
(Banyak orang membayangkan berapa
kali pria itu gagal sebelum sukses.)
Where does Andy live?
(Dimana Andy tinggal?)
I wonder if he lives in West Jakarta.
(Saya pikir dia tinggal di Jakarta Barat.)
Is Andy live on Dewi Sartika Street?
(Apakah Andy tinggal di jalan Dewi
Sartika?)
I dont know if he live on Dewi Sartika
Street or not.
atau

I dont know whether or not he lives on Dewi


Sartika street.
(Saya tidak tahu jika dia tinggal di jalan Sartika
atau tidak.)
She wanted to know if he lived on Dewi
Sartika street. [indirect speech dari yes-

no question]

that

biasanya that-clause untuk


mental activity. Berikut
daftar verb pada main
clause yang biasanya
diikuti that-clause:assume,
believe, discover, dream,
guess, hear, hope, know,
learn, notice, predict,
prove, realize, suppose,
suspect, think

I think that the group will arrive in an


hour.
(Saya pikir rombongan itu akan tiba
dalam satu jam.)
Many people proved that the man was
a big liar.
(Banyak orang membuktikan bahwa pria
itu pembohong besar.)

Fungsi Noun Clause

Berikut adalah contoh kalimat dari setiap fungsi noun clause.


Fungsi

Subject of a Verb

Subject
Complement

Object of a Verb

Object of a
preposition

Adjective
Complement

Contoh Kalimat Noun Clause


What she cooked was delicious.
(Apa yang dia masak lezat.)
That today is his birthday is not right.
(Bahwa hari ini ulang tahunnya tidak benar.)
The fact is that she is smart and dilligent.
(Faktanya dia cerdas dan rajin.)
A teacher must be whoever allows students to ask.
(Seorang guru harus yang membiarkan siswa untuk
bertanya.)
Diana believes that her life will be happier.
(Diana percaya hidupnya akan lebih bahagia.)
I want to know how Einstein thought.
(Saya ingin tahu bagaimana Einstein berpikir.)
The girl comes from where many people there live in
poverty.
(Anak berasal dari tempat dimana orang-orang hidup dalam
kemiskinan.)
He will attend the party with whichever fits to his body.
(Dia akan menghadiri pesta tsb dengan apapun yang cocok
dibadannya.)
We were worried that she couldnt recover from
divorce.
(Kita khawatir dia tidak dapat membaik dari perceraian.)

Noun Clauses
See The Sentence for definitions of sentence, clause, and dependent clause.
A sentence which contains just one clause is called a simple sentence.
A sentence which contains one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses is
called a complex sentence. (Dependent clauses are also called subordinate clauses.)
There are three basic types of dependent clauses: adjective clauses, adverb clauses, and
noun clauses. (Adjective clauses are also called relative clauses.)
This page contains information about noun clauses. Also see Adjective Clauses and Adverb
Clauses.

A. Noun clauses perform the same functions in sentences that nouns do:
A noun clause can be a subject of a verb:
What Billy did shocked his friends.
A noun clause can be an object of a verb:
Billys friends didnt know that he couldnt swim.
A noun clause can be a subject complement:
Billys mistake was that he refused to take lessons.
A noun clause can be an object of a preposition:
Mary is not responsible for what Billy did.
A noun clause (but not a noun) can be an adjective complement:
Everybody is sad that Billy drowned.

B. You can combine two independent clauses by changing one to a noun clause and
using it in one of the ways listed above. The choice of the noun clause marker (see below)
depends on the type of clause you are changing to a noun clause:
To change a statement to a noun clause use that:
I know + Billy made a mistake =
I know that Billy made a mistake.

To change a yes/no question to a noun clause, use if or whether:


George wonders + Does Fred know how to cook? =
George wonders if Fred knows how to cook.
To change a wh-question to a noun clause, use the wh-word:
I dont know + Where is George? =
I dont know where George is.
C. The subordinators in noun clauses are called noun clause markers. Here is a list of the
noun clause markers:
that
if, whether
Wh-words: how, what, when, where, which, who, whom, whose, why
Wh-ever words: however, whatever, whenever, wherever, whichever, whoever, whomever

D. Except for that, noun clause markers cannot be omitted. Only that can be omitted, but
it can be omitted only if it is not the first word in a sentence:
correct:
Billys friends didnt know that he couldnt swim.
correct:
Billys friends didnt know he couldnt swim.
correct:
Billys mistake was that he refused to take lessons.
correct:
Billys mistake was he refused to take lessons.
correct:
That Billy jumped off the pier surprised everyone.
not correct:
* Billy jumped off the pier surprised everyone.

E. Statement word order is always used in a noun clause, even if the main clause is a
question:
not correct:
* Do you know what time is it? (Question word order: is it)
correct:
Do you know what time it is? (Statement word order: it is)
not correct:
* Everybody wondered where did Billy go. (Question word order: did Billy go)
correct:
Everybody wondered where Billy went. (Statement word order: Billy went)

F. Sequence of tenses in sentences containing noun clauses:


When the main verb (the verb in the independent clause) is present, the verb in the noun
clause is:
future if its action/state is later
He thinks that the exam next week will be hard.
He thinks that the exam next week is going to be hard.
present if its action/state is at the same time
He thinks that Mary is taking the exam right now.
past if its action/state is earlier
He thinks that George took the exam yesterday.
When the main verb (the verb in the independent clause) is past, the verb in the noun clause
is:
was/were going to or would + BASE if its action/state is later
He thought that the exam the following week was going to be hard.
He thought that the exam the following week would be hard.
past if its action/state is at the same time
He thought that Mary was taking the exam then.
past perfect if its action/state is earlier
He thought that George had taken the exam the day before.
If the action/state of the noun clause is still in the future (that is, after the writer has written
the sentence), then a future verb can be used even if the main verb is past.

The astronaut said that people will live on other planets someday.
If the action/state of the noun clause continues in the present (that is, at the time the writer is
writing the sentence) or if the noun clause expresses a general truth or fact, the simple
present tense can be used even if the main verb is past.
We learned that English is not easy.
The boys knew that the sun rises in the east.

G. Here are some examples of sentences which contain one noun clause (underlined)
and one independent clause:
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 didnt know that Billy would jump.
We didnt know Billy would jump.
Can you tell me if Fred is here?
I dont 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 didnt 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.