A Noun clause is another type of complex sentence that you are likely to use when you do any form of writing or speaking, so you need to be aware of them for IELTS.
Remember that to score at a band 6 or above for the grammatical range and accuracy criteria in the IELTS writing marking, you must show that you are able to use complex sentences with at least some accuracy.
For instance for a band 6 grammar for essays, the IELTS public band descriptors say:
So a band 6 you may still make some errors with them, but errors are a lot less likely for someone scoring a band 7 or higher.
This of course does not mean you have to have them in your writing! There are lots of other types of complex sentences and forms, but it is likely you will use some. For your speaking too, you need to be able to use a mix of complex structures with some flexibility.
If you don't know what a noun or a noun phrase is, you should check these out before you continue with this lesson.
This is a noun clause definition:
A group of words (which do what a noun does) with a subject and a verb that can be a subject, an object, or an object of a preposition.
Here are 4 common types of noun clauses (NC):
It is a dependent clause which means it must also have an independent clause, but we will look at this further when we analyse each type.
Before we look at these in turn, let's look at how this type of clause begins.
They start with a relative or adverb pronoun. These are the words that commonly commence such a clause:
Now we'll look at the different types. Before we do this, take a look at these noun clause examples (the whole clause is in bold and the relative or adverb pronoun is in red). Each different type is shown:
For these explanations, the subjects will be in green, the verbs in blue, and the objects in red. In this type of sentence the NC (underlined) is the subject of the sentence:
So looking at the whole sentence above, we have a subject, a verb and an object. But remember that a NC is a 'clause', so it too must have a subject and a verb (and possibly an object):
In the above example, the adverb pronoun ("what") is the subject. It does not have to be as in this example, where "I" is the subject:
Important: Note that the verb "is" is singular. A NC is counted as a singular subject, so it takes a singular verb.
You can learn more about subject verb agreement here.
When the clause is the direct object, then it comes after the verb in the independent clause:
Again, remember that the NC has a subject and a verb (and possibly an object):
A common NC you will know from IELTS is the "that" clause, following verbs such as "think", "believe" and "feel", for example as in this Task 2 essay question:
And you may then give your opinion:
Note that if you are speaking it is fine to leave "that" out of the sentence (this is then a reduced noun clause).
I believe students should not have to wear a uniform.
But for formal writing such as you do in IELTS you should keep the "that" in the sentence.
I believe that students should not have to wear a uniform.
In this case, the NC comes after a preposition:
And here it is with the subject and verb of the NC highlighted:
These type of sentences have the following structure:
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