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EngliPatrick Oct 7th, 2008 07:03 pm

noun clauses vs. relative clauses
I'm a little confused...

Can someone layout really nicely when a noun clause being used as a direct object is actually a noun clause and not a relative clause?

Take the following examples:

"This is a book that she wrote last year."
"He knew that the child was there."

It is my understanding that the first one is a relative clause and the second is a noun clause being used as a direct object. Sheesh! My head is fried!

EngliPatrick Oct 7th, 2008 11:19 pm

Re: noun clauses vs. relative clauses
I'll climb back into my hole now...

The answer was more simple than I thought. In relative clauses, the relative pronoun can ALWAYS be replaced with 'which' or 'who' and the sentence will make sense. This doesn't happen in noun clauses being used as direct objects.

Eric18 Oct 9th, 2008 06:30 pm

Re: noun clauses vs. relative clauses
Patrick - Like you, I often find teaching relative phrases and clauses (also called restrictive phrases and clauses) a bit tricky.

Does anybody know a solid primer on relative clauses and phrases? I'm looking for a solid 2-4 page section that I can use with intermediate/advanced ESL students in graduate school. The vocabulary needs to be fairly sophisticated. Our textbook, Academic Writing for Graduate Students (Swales & Feak, 2004) seems to confuse more than illuminate.


EngliPatrick Oct 9th, 2008 10:58 pm

Re: noun clauses vs. relative clauses
I wouldn't say it's a 2 page explanation but I use the following site for a lot of explanations on my site: INDEX to the Guide to Grammar and Writing

And, believe it or not, I find a lot of things on Wikipedia, not to be confused with Englipedia, useful.

Eric18 Oct 10th, 2008 12:01 am

Re: noun clauses vs. relative clauses
Patrick - Thanks!

That's a solid index and practical introduction. I have a bookmark for the website, but not that page. ALthough it's designed for community college students, many of my university students - both ESL and non-ESL - have found it quite helpful.
Again, good tip.

By the way, I also share your appreciation for Wikipedia - and even allow students to consult it as a first source for research papers. They have to, of course, find the same information elsewhere - and remain sceptical of all sources. After all, even the most "respected" and "reliable" sources have often been very wrong.

EngliPatrick Oct 10th, 2008 01:47 am

Re: noun clauses vs. relative clauses
About Wikipedia, it seems like it was just yesterday when closed-minded teachers rejected Wikipedia and now more and more it is being embraced.

Any information, whether it comes from a book or the internet, half of doing any type of research is judging not only the source of the information but also judging the quality of the source. It's nice to see things starting to change.

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