Grammar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noun Clauses in Dialogue

Consider the following sentence:

An analysis of that sentence might go like this:

  1. The highlighted portion is a subordinate noun clause. It can be treated like one big noun.
  2. In this sentence, the word "that" is optional (and that's why we have put it in brackets).
  3. The noun clause "I am ugly" is a dependent or subordinate clause. The pattern of this clause is equative (S=C).
  4. If we take a step back, however, and consider the entire sentence, we can see that the main clause is transitive (SVO).
  5. Summing it up: The sentence is a complex sentence that consists of two clauses:
    • main clause = He said that I am ugly = transitive (SVO)
    • subordinate clause = I am ugly = equative (S=C)

Graphically, we might represent it like this:

Main Clause

S
He

V
said

O
[that] I am ugly.

 

Subordinate Clause
S
I
=
am
C
ugly

Now let's take a look at the following sentence:

Despite the punctuation differences, this sentence is basically the same.

Main Clause

S
He

V
said,

O
"You are ugly."

 

Subordinate Clause
S
You
=
are
C
ugly

The point is this: Don't let noun clauses scare you. You've been using them your whole life. Whenever you report someone's speech—whether directly or indirectly—you're doing it with a noun clause.

Intructions for the Quiz

Identify the pattern of the main clause.

To make things slightly easier, I have highlighted the noun clause in each sentence. Remember: These highlighted words can be treated like one big noun.

Quiz