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Hi,

I would just like some help establishing the differences between a noun clause and a complement clause.

I already know quite thouroughly whata noun clause is, and I have found a clear website on complement clause; however, I struggle identifying how they are different in some circumstances.

Noun Clause

A noun clause is just like a noun phrase and a noun; it performs the same functions serving as the subject, object, complement, or object of a preposition within a clause.

Complement Clause

A complement clause I stuggle to define; however, I can classify them into sub-groups that I read from a site:

An ordinary complemet clause-
Example: I know [that James went to Yale].
If you examine the structure of the entire sentence, you will see that this complement clause is taking the place of a direct object. This is common for ordinary complement clauses. Certain verbs, which your text goes into in detail, allow this.

This type of clause can also begin a sentence, filling the subject position

This, to me, looks similar to a noun clause; however, this site did not mention that an 'ordinary complement clause' can function as an object of a preposition or function as a complement, which a noun phrase can..

The site listed a few other types of complement clauses, which were relatively straight foward.

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But what I want to know is if you can give me more help establishing the difference between these two types of clauses. For example, a noun clause can begin with the word 'that' as can a complement clause, so what is the difference? Also, can you define a complement clause and a complementizer? And what is the difference between the 'that' which begins a complement clause and the 'that' in noun clauses?

Thanks.
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Comments  
A noun clause can only function as a noun, but a complement clause can also function as an adjective. (Did you say that?)
Eddie88An ordinary complement clause-
Example: I know [that James went to Yale]....

This, to me, looks similar to a noun clause
That's not surprising since it is a noun clause!!!
Let me remind you that there are always at least two types of classification for each constituent of a sentence: 1) what it "is" 2) how it "functions".
You already know some examples of this. Look at this sentence:
The little boy was carrying a puppy.
the little boy is a noun phrase. That is what it "is".
the little boy is a subject. That is what function it serves within the sentence.
Now would you be confused about this? Would you ask: What really is the little boy in this sentence? Is it a noun phrase, or is it a subject? Some people talk about it as a noun phrase; other people claim it is a subject. Who is right?
Certainly you would not be confused about this. Looked at from one point of view, the little boy is a noun phrase; from another point of view it is the subject of a sentence.
The same is true of noun clauses and complement clauses. noun clause describes what a word group is; complement clause describes its function within a given sentence.
Make sense?
CJ
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Understand entirely!

Thanks.
Eddie88function as an object of a preposition or function as a complement, which a noun phrase can..
A that clause (where that is a complementizer) is most often used as a direct object, but it can also be used as a subject or as a predicate nominative (The reason is that he didn't know what to do). Such a that clause is also often used as an appositive after words like fact, thought, story, and so on: the fact that he was late; the thought that she might have hurt herself; the story that the governor had taken bribes.
I don't know of a case where this kind of clause can be used directly as an object of a preposition. In that position it's always a noun like fact and an appositive that clause after the preposition.
*He was proud of that he had succeeded.
He was proud of the fact that he had succeeded.
*None of them responded favorably to that taxes would be raised.
None of them responded favorably to the idea that taxes would be raised.
A that clause of this type can also be used to complete an adjective phrase.
Tom was afraid that Sue would reveal the secret.
afraid that Sue would reveal the secret is an adjective phrase with an embedded noun clause. This that clause "complements" (completes the meaning of) the adjective afraid, so it can be called a complement clause. I would call this one both a noun clause and a complement clause.
CJ
CalifJim noun clause describes what a word group is; complement clause describes its function within a given sentence.
Oh, well, back to the drawing board. And just when I thought I understood that a noun clause was so named because it functioned as a noun within a given sentence. If not because of its function, then what is it about a noun clause that encourages us to call it a noun clause?

Best wishes, - A.
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Avangi
CalifJim noun clause describes what a word group is; complement clause describes its function within a given sentence.
Oh, well, back to the drawing board. And just when I thought I understood that a noun clause was so named because it functioned as a noun within a given sentence. If not because of its function, then what is it about a noun clause that encourages us to call it a noun clause?
Perhaps it's just a convenient fiction that there is a separation between "what it is" and "how it functions". In reality, the two factors often interact and balance each other. Another fiction is that you can make these analyses like a computer, with no intuitive knowledge about how words clump together into meaningful units. Intuition plays a bigger role than is often imagined.
That said, a noun phrase is a grouping with a noun as its head; an adjective phrase is a grouping with an adjective as its head; a verb phrase ..., etc., etc., etc. These can often be determined even when isolated and considered separately from the sentence in which they occur -- though not always, I've found. Subjects, objects, and other "functional roles" cannot, in contrast, be identified separately from the containing sentence.
Verbs are a curious case, because a verb is a part of speech, and yet a certain quality of 'verbiness' also seems to have a functional role to play in a clause. Emotion: smile This is often explained like this: The verb sets up the pattern upon which everything else in the clause depends. The verb is like a mathematical "function" and the nouns around it are its "arguments". Linguists actually borrow these terms from mathematics. Chomsky did his work at M.I.T., after all!
CJ
CalifJim a noun phrase is a grouping with a noun as its head
The verb sets up the pattern upon which everything else in the clause depends.
This second quote is why I have so much trouble accepting A. Star's assertion that participial phrases can be only adjectival (although she documents it well). Many participial phrases seem to modify both the subject and the verb. I intuitively agree with the role you have just described for the verb, and in that role it surely must trump the subject for the attention of the participial phrase.

I had never heard of noun phrases/clauses before joining EF. I readily accepted that participial phrases begin with participles, but never ever picked up on a similar relation for noun phrases. I'm shocked - shocked! I guess most simple sentences are noun clauses. How dumb is that? Is one which begins with a pronoun a "pronoun clause"?

Thank you very much for setting me straight on this. Yesterday I would have been prepared to swear that I had several site references defining the noun phrase/clause as a group of words functioning as a noun by serving as D.O., O.P., S., etc. At the moment I can't find any of them. I had filed that subject under "done deals."

Thanks again, CJ, - A.

God bless N. Chomsky
Obviously, you will receive a far more comphrensive reply from CJ, but I just thought I would share what I think, nonetheless.

'Yesterday I would have been prepared to swear that I had several site references defining the noun phrase/clause as a group of words functioning as a noun'

I think you may have misunderstood what CJ said. From my knowledge this is correct; a noun phrase is a group of words without a subject-verb relationship and performs the same function as a noun in a sentence; that is, it serves as the subject, object (of verb or preposition), or complement within a clause. A noun clause is very much the same in that it serves the same function within a clause as a noun and noun phrase, but it is a clause within the larger clause.

'I guess most simple sentences are noun clauses'

No, a noun clause cannot be a sentence on its own. A noun clause, as well as adverbial clauses, complement clauses and adjective clauses, is a type of dependent clause, which means it cannot stand alone in a sentence. A noun clause takes the role of a noun in a sentence; it just replaces the noun---would you see a noun as a full sentence? No.

Here is an example:

He ate a slice of bread.

He=noun and subject

I can now replace this noun with a noun phrase:

Andrew and his friends ate a slice of bread.

I can now replace this noun phrase with a noun clause:

Whoever Andrew disliked ate a slice of bread (horrible example)

Whoever broke the vase will have to pay for it.

Cheers.
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