A reader asks for more information about noun clauses.
First, a little review.
A clause is a group of words that contains a main verb. Examples:
I dance the polka.
what people like
that ruined the evening
Clauses are of two kinds:
main or independent
subordinate or dependent
Clauses function as parts of speech:
He bumped into the wall when the lights went out. (Adverb clause modifying the verb “bumped.”)
There’s the man who saved the kitten. (Adjective clause qualifying the noun “man.”)
He knows what consumers like. (Noun clause, object of the verb “knows.”)
A noun clause functions as a noun in another clause. The noun clause may be the subject or object of a verb, or the object of a preposition:
What he is doing smacks of corruption. (Noun clause, subject of the verb “smacks.”)
We can only hope that the wind will die down soon. (Noun clause, object of the verb “can hope.”)
I’ll give this computer to whoever wants it. (Noun clause, object of the preposition “to.”) And yes, it should be “whoever” and not “whomever” because “whoever” is the subject of the verb “wants.”
Some words that may introduce a noun clause:
Sometimes the introductory word may be left out, as in
I wish I knew the reason. (i.e,, “I wish that I knew the reason.”)
But that’s another post.