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NOMINAL CLAUSES

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are several types of nominal clauses:


that-clauses
wh-interrogative clauses
yes-no and alternative interrogative clauses
exclamative clauses
nominal relative clauses
to-infinitive clauses
-ing clauses
bare infinitive clauses
verbless clauses

that- clauses
may function as:
a) subject (That he killed his aunt is unclear to me.) it mostly functions as
a subject postponed (It is known that apple doesnt fall far from the tree.)
b) object (I told you that he isnt going to come.)
c) subject complement (My assumption is that interest rates will soon fall.)
d) appositive (He presented an idea that was supposed to save the
company.)
e) adjectival complementation (Im glad that you came.)
that can be omitted without changing the meaning a zero-that clause (/0that clause) its particularly common when the clause is brief and
uncomplicated
the retention of that is necessary in some cases:
a) to clarify whether an adverbial belongs to the matrix or the that-clause
(They told us once again that the situation was serious.|They told us that
once again the situation was serious.)
b) to prevent a coordinated that-clause being misinterpreted as a coordinated
main clause (I realize that Im in charge and that everybody accepts my
leadership. | I realize that Im in charge and everybody accepts my
leadership)
c) when the object that-clause is fronted (That she ever said such a thing I
simply dont believe.)
d) when a clause or long phrase intervenes btw the verb and that-clause (We
decided, in view of his special circumstances, that we would admit him for
a probationary period.)

wh-interrogative clause
may function as:
a) subject (What I dont understand is why she left you.)
b) direct object (I dont know whats going on.)
c) subject complement (What I dont understand is why she left you.)
d) appositives (She gave me an idea what to do about it.)
e) adjectival complementation (Im not sure which she prefers.)
f) prepositional complement (They didnt consult us on whose names
should be put forward.)

prepositions are often omitted before wh-clauses (Weve solved the problem
(of) who was at fault.)

yes-no and alternative interrogative clauses


occur in a whole range of functions available to subordinate clauses, and may
include indefinite clauses
yes-no clauses are introduced by the subordinators whether and if (Do you
know whether/if the banks are open.)
alternative clauses are formed with the correlatives whether or or if or
the subordinator is repeated only if the second unit is a full clause, and may
sometimes be repeated with to-infinitive clauses
it cant introduce a subject clause, a to-infinitive clause and it cant be followed
directly by or not (but it can be postponed)

exclamative clauses
may function as:
a) extraposed subject (Its incredible how fast she can run.)
b) direct object (I remember what a good time I had at your party.)
c) prepositional complement (I read an account of what an impression you
had made.)
theyre formed with what as a predeterminer in a NP and how as an intensifier
of an adjective, adverb or clause
a subordinate clause may be ambiguous between exclamatory and
interrogative interpretations (You cant imagine what difficulties I have with my
children the great difficulties or the kinds of difficulty | I told her how late she
was she was very late or the extent to which she was late

nominal relative clause


introduced by a wh-element, which can be a pronoun, such as whoever and
what, a determiner, such as what, or an adverb, such as where
it may function as:
a) subject (Whoever you called last night is none of my business.)
b) direct object (I dont know where I put my book.)
c) indirect object (He gave whoever asked for it a copy of his book.)
d) subject complement (This place is where I want to live.)
e) object complement (You can call me what(ever)you like.)
f) appositive (Ill pay you the whole dept: what I originally borrowed and
what I owe you in interest.)
g) prepositional complement (You should vote for which(ever) candidate
you think best.)
they require prepositions in adjective complementation (Hes aware of what I
write.)
to-infinitive can also be nominal relative clauses, but only in the function of
subject and prepositional complement

the suffix ever indicates whether something is nonspecific (whoever,


whatever)
a subordinate clause can be ambiguous btw a nominal relative and an
interrogative interpretation (They asked me what I knew. the things I knew or
What do you know | What she wrote was a mystery. She wrote a mystery
story or I dont know what she wrote)

to-infinitive clause
may function as:
a) subject (To be neutral in this conflict is out of the question.) also as a
subject postponed
b) direct object (I want to go somewhere.)
c) subject complement (The best excuse is to say youre sick.)
d) appositive (Your ambition, to become a farmer, requires a lot of energy.)
e) adjectival complementation (Im very happy to have met you.)
the presence of a subject in a to-infinitive clause requires the presence of a
preceding for, except when the clause is a direct object, then for is generally
absent before the subject
this form mostly indicates a proposition or possibility and is semantically
closest to a that-clause with putative should (Its natural for them to be together.
= Its natural that they should be together.)

-ing clauses
may function as:
a) subject (Watching television is relaxing.)
b) direct object (I enjoy helping other people.)
c) subject complement (Hes doing something good for the nation.)
d) appositive (His current research, investigating attitudes to racial
stereotypes, takes up most of his time.)
e) adjectival complementation (Theyre busy preparing a barbecue.)
if the ing clause has a subject, the subject can be in genitive or objective case
(I object to his/Marios receiving an invitation genitive | I object to him/Mario
receiving an invitation. - objective)
the genitive is preferred if the subject is initial in the sentence (My forgetting
her name is odd.)
the genitive is avoided when the NP is lengthy and requires a group genitive
(Do you remember the students and teachers protesting against the new rule?)
a formal ing clause may refer to a fact or an action (F: Your driving a car to NY
in your condition disturbs me greatly. | A: Your driving a car to NY took longer
than I expected.)

bare infinitive clauses


mostly as subject or subject complement in a pseudo-cleft sentence (Turn off
the tap was all I did.)

it can also function as an object complement with few superordinate verbs


(They made her pay for the damage.) and it can follow prepositions of exception
(She did everything but make her bed.)

verbless clauses
a more debatable category (A friend in need is a friend indeed. To be a friend
in need is to be a friend indeed. | Are bicycles wise in heavy traffic? Is it wise
to have bicycles in heavy traffic? | Wall-to-wall carpets in every room is their
dream. Having wall-to-wall carpets in every room is their dream.)