The English language is full of Noun Clauses. A Noun Clause is made up of a group of words with a Noun and a Verb.
- A Noun is the name of a person, animal, place, thing, (or state; for example: happiness, excitement).
- In other words, a Noun is the name of someone or something.
- ‘Noun’ means ‘name’.
- A Pronoun (it, she, you, him, this, etc.) replaces a noun. If you can replace a group of words with a pronoun, then that group of words is a type of Noun. In the following examples, the group of words is a Noun Clause.
A Noun Clause can be the subject, the object, or the complement in a sentence.
* Subject: Whatever Taylor Swift sings becomes a hit. jk It becomes a hit.
* Object: Did you know that Taylor Swift is only twenty-five? jk Did you know this?
* Subject Complement: Taylor Swift’s beauty and talent are what many girls dream of. m Taylor Swift’s beauty and talent are this.
The Noun Clause can usually be identified by asking a question about the remainder of the sentence: (The answer to ‘What …?’ is usually a noun.)
Question:What becomes a hit? Answer: whatever Taylor Swift sings Question:What did I know? Answer: that Taylor Swift is only twenty-five?Question: What are Taylor Swift’s beauty and talent? A: what many girls dream of.
There are many Noun Clause Markers. (Markers ‘introduce’ or ‘signal’ various grammar points.) Noun Clause Markers introduce Noun Clauses. ‘That’ is the only Noun Clause Marker that is optional.
Noun Clause Markers can be summarised as:
♠ that, if, whether,
♠ what, when, how, where, and other wh… question words . Also:
♠ whatever, whenever, however, and other wh … ever words.
The Noun Clause Markers used in the above sentences are: whatever, that, and what.
There are various ways of learning about Noun Clauses, but for this post I’m just going to focus on a few in Taylor Swift’s song Blank Space. Have a look at the chorus; the Noun Clauses are in pink. Try replacing the Noun Clauses with a pronoun.
So it’s *gonna be forever or it’s *gonna go down in flames. You can tell me when it’s over if the high was worth the pain.
(I’ve) Got a long list of ex-lovers.
They’ll tell you I’m insane,
‘Cause you know I love the players, and
you love the game.
* gonna = going to
♦ You can tell me when it’s over if the high was worth the pain. Did you replace the Noun Clause with ‘this‘ or ‘it’? → You can tell me ‘this’.
♦ They’ll tell you (that) I’m insane, Did you replace the Noun Clause with ‘this’ or ‘it’? → They’ll tell you ‘this’. (This line is an example of reported speech, which uses Noun Clauses.)
♦ ‘Cause you know (that) I love the players, Did you replace the Noun Clause with ‘this’ or ‘it’? → ‘Cause you know ‘it’,
♦ ‘Cause you know (that) you love the game. Did you replace the Noun Clause with ‘this’ or ‘it’? → ‘Cause you know ‘it’. ** There are two Noun Clauses in this part of the sentence:
1. ‘Cause you know (that) I love the players, 2. ‘Cause you know) (that) you love the game.
This is an easy chorus to sing and remember. Sing along a few times while watching the video, and you will soon be able to recall these examples of Noun Clauses. For a further explanation of Noun Clauses, click here for the Eslgold website. Click here and here for practice exercises. If you would like to practise forming Noun Clauses in indirect (embedded) questions, click here.