Author Topic: Distinguishing noun clauses from adjective clauses and adverb clauses  (Read 10931 times)

Joe Carillo

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Questions posted as personal message by pipes, Forum member (January 12, 2012):

Dear Mr. Carillo,

Belated Happy New Year, Mr. Carillo! I would just like to consult you with regard to the following:

1. “It is believed that computers will make a tremendous impact in today’s education.”

Am I right that “that computers will make a tremendous impact in today’s education” is a noun clause?

How do you distinguish a noun clause from adjective clause? from an adverb clause?

Thank you.

Yours,
pipes

My reply to pipes:

Yes, the construction “that computers will make a tremendous impact in today’s education” is a noun clause in this particular sentence you presented:

“It is believed that computers will make a tremendous impact in today’s education.”

That noun clause serves as the direct object of the verb “believed.”

Recall that by definition, a clause is a group of words containing a subject and predicate that functions as a member of a complex or compound sentence. When such a clause is introduced by the relative pronouns “that” and “who” or by the interrogative words “why,” “where,” and “when,” it functions as a relative clause that can serve in any of these three ways in a sentence: as a noun clause, as an adjective clause, and as an adverb clause.

Relative clause as noun clause. This is when the relative clause serves as the subject or object of a sentence, as in the following examples:

1. Noun clause as subject of the sentence:That the accused will be vindicated in the trial is not a certainty.”
2. Noun clause as direct object in the sentence: “The woman claims that she is being harassed by her former employer.”     

Note that the sentence you presented, “It is believed that computers will make a tremendous impact in today’s education,” has the same construction pattern as Example #2 above, with the noun clause “that computers will make a tremendous impact in today’s education” as direct object of the verb “claims.”

Relative clause as adjective clause. This is when the relative clause serves to modify nouns and pronouns—meaning that they identify or give additional information about the subject or about the object receiving the action in a sentence. They work either as a dependent or subordinate clause in a sentence, and to be able to do this, the adjective clause needs to link itself to the main clause of a sentence by making use of one of the following: the relative pronouns “that,” which,” “who,” “whom,” and “whose” and the pronouns “when” and “where.” The adjective clause can then function in any of three ways:

1. As an adjective clause modifying the subject in the main clause: “People who have extensively traveled abroad usually have a broad world view.” (Here, the adjective clause “who have extensively traveled abroad” modifies the subject “people.”)
2. As an adjective clause modifying the object of the verb: “The lawyers couldn’t agree on several terms that will be used in their legal brief.” (Here, the adjective clause “that will be used in their legal brief” modifies the direct object “terms.”)
3. As an adjective clause serving as object of the preposition: “The letter was delivered to whom it was addressed.” (Here, the adjective clause “whom it was addressed” is the object of the preposition “to.”)

Relative clause as adverb clause. This is when the relative clause modifies the operative verb of the sentence, as in the following example:

“The expedition failed to land where they intended to make the scientific study.” (Here, the adverb clause “where they intended to make the scientific study” modifies the verb “land.”)

RELATED POSTING:
Guideposts for using “who,” “that,” and “which” to link relative clauses


pipes

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Re: Distinguishing noun clauses from adjective clauses and adverb clauses
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 01:25:56 PM »
Dear Mr. Carillo,

Thank you so much for replying to my message.
Hope you had a great vacation. 

Yours,
Aldrin