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Noun clauses

In sentences, noun clauses act as subjects, direct objects and indirect objects and almost always establish ‘what’.


The clause, that economists considered supply and demand theory to be inconsequential prior to Keynes’ work in the 1930s, is a noun clause.

Recognising noun clauses

Noun clauses can begin with the following words:

who ever
whom ever

Determining a noun clause

  • Check if a clause is a noun clause by substituting the clause with the word, ‘it’.
  • If the sentence makes sense and if the clause acts as the subject or object in the sentence, the clause is a noun clause.

In our example, what happens if you substitute ‘it’ for the clause?

A review of the literature reveals it. (direct object)

The sentence makes sense and the word ‘it’ can be substituted for the original words; therefore, we have a noun clause in this sentence.

Noun clause as a

  • SubjectHow they understood her is a mystery to me.
  • Direct objectThey heard that the storm bypassed Perth.
  • Indirect objectThe prize goes to whomever I see wins the race.

Complete the two noun clauses exercises on this page.


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