Hello,

I am having a bit of difficulty with noun clauses as they are presented in the textbook that I am using. Here is the exercise:

Underline and identify the noun clauses in the paragraph.

Why some very good students often fail exams was recently studied by a professor of psychology at New York University. Professor Iris Fodor conducted research on the anxiety of some students before taking exams. Professor Fodor stated that many students fail exams because they become extremely nervous and cannot think logically. Furthermore, although they have studied, they are afraid of whatever is on the exam. Extremely nervous students forget everything they have studied, and some even become sick before a test. Dr. Fodor says how a student feels before a test is very important. She worked with fifty students and taught them how they could reduce their test anxiety and perform well on their exams. She reported that the students in the program felt better able to cope with their anxieties.

The answer key states the following: (my questions are in red)

Why some very good students often fail exams: subject of the sentence

that many students fail exams: adjective complement (is this correct?)

whatever is on the exam: object of a preposition

how a student feels before a test: object of the sentence

how they could reduce their test anxiety and perform well on their exams (not mentioned in answer key - is this a noun clause? if so, which type?)

that the students in the program felt better able to cope with their anxieties: adjective

complement (is this correct?)

Thank you for your help with this!
Why some very good students often fail exams: subject of the sentence OK

that many students fail exams: adjective complement (is this correct?) No. It's a content clause, and the approach used in your book probably would say it's the direct object of the sentence.

whatever is on the exam: object of a preposition OK

how a student feels before a test: object of the sentence No. It's the subject of the clause ending in "is very important".

how they could reduce their test anxiety and perform well on their exams (not mentioned in answer key - is this a noun clause? if so, which type?) Your book would probably call this a noun clause and call it the direct object.

that the students in the program felt better able to cope with their anxieties: adjective

complement (is this correct?) This is another content clause and your book probably wants you to call it a direct object.

CJ
Thanks CJ! Just one more question. You called some of the noun clauses "content clauses" but my textbook doesn't mention those. They only highlight four types of noun clauses (subject of a sentence, object of a sentence, object of a preposition, and complement of an adjective). Therefore, would I refer to the clauses that you called "content clauses" as object of a sentence?

This is very confusing because different books present noun clauses in different ways. I really would like to present this to my students in the least confusing way possible! Emotion: embarrassed

Thanks,

Kelly
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Gaga4Grammarwould I refer to the clauses that you called "content clauses" as object of a sentence?
Yes, the clauses I called content clauses are direct objects within the system of grammar being used in your book. that-clauses after verbs of reporting, thinking, and the like are almost always called direct objects in that system.

He/She/I/... [said / claimed / reported / observed / thought / believed / hinted / ...] that ....

Gaga4GrammarThis is very confusing because different books present noun clauses in different ways.
Very true. Emotion: smile

Gaga4Grammarfour types of noun clauses (subject of a sentence, object of a sentence, object of a preposition, and complement of an adjective)
This covers the majority of cases. There is also a case where a "noun clause", i.e., content clause, occurs "in apposition" or "as an appositive", thus:

The fact that he was late disappointed everyone. Here "that he was late" is the 'content' of "the fact", so it's a content clause (Your book says 'noun clause') in apposition to "the fact". Other approaches may call it a 'complement' of "the fact".

And there is also a case where a noun clause is a predicate nominative (subject complement):

The pity was that the doctor did not arrive in time to save the patient.

In short, a noun clause can be anything a noun can be.

CJ