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Dear Ms

I am writing to acquire some assistance from you. I am a teacher of English in Cambodia. I have some difficulties with telling the difference between noun clauses and relative clauses when I have met some sentences using of apposition to some words in sentences. These sentences are as follows:
1. The news that he won surprised us all. (Noun clause?)
2. The news which we received last month was unbelievable.
3. It is a fact that the earth is round.
4. The fact that the earth is round is weel-known.

I am looking forward to your detail expanation.

Your sincerely,
Sothy Sin
Cambodia
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Anonymous1. The news that he won surprised us all. (Noun clause?)
2. The news which we received last month was unbelievable.
3. It is a fact that the earth is round.
4. The fact that the earth is round is weel well-known.
Hi Sothy Sin,

#1 and #2 relative pronoun clauses are of adjectival type. They modify the noun in their own sentence.
You mentioned about appositives. Appositive is a noun or noun phrase that renames a nearby noun. For examples:

His first novel, The Blue Dream, will soon be published ....
His novel 'The Blue Dream' will soon be published ....

The Blue Dream
is the appositive in both sentences.
#3 and #4 are appositive clauses.

Dear Ms

I'd really appreciate your reply to my first letter. But in the sentence: "The news that he won surprised us all." that he won- is the noun clause;according to one of the website on the Internet. In the sentence "The fact that the earth is round is obvious." that the earth is round'-is a noun clause, according to you and many other refferences. What is the difference between the two sentences? Please expound clearly. In addition, I've come across some more difficult sentences such "It's a time that wars should cease." -that wars should cease is a noun clause used as an apposition to the word"time"; is it correct?- According to the high school grammar book from India.
To me, it seems to be complicated when there is not precise explantion on using noun clauses and adjective clauses.

I am looking forward to hearing again form you.

Yours faithfully,
Sothy Sin
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AnonymousI'd really appreciate your reply to my first letter. But in the sentence: "The news that he won surprised us all." that he won- is the noun clause;according to one of the website on the Internet. In the sentence "The fact that the earth is round is obvious." that the earth is round'-is a noun clause, according to you and many other refferences. What is the difference between the two sentences? Please expound clearly. In addition, I've come across some more difficult sentences such "It's a time that wars should cease." -that wars should cease is a noun clause used as an apposition to the word"time"; is it correct?- According to the high school grammar book from India.

Hi Sothy Sin,

I blew it royally! You are right. The clause 'that he won' is appositive clause because it is the news. The same goes for 'that the earth is round', which is the fact. Both clauses refer to the noun they follow.

1. "The news that he won surprised us all" - What is the news? 'He won' is the news. Both 'the news' and 'that he won' refer to the same thing (i.e., equivalent).
2. "The fact that the earth is round is well known" - What is the fact? 'The earth is round' is the fact. Both 'the fact' and 'that the earth is round' refer to the same thing.

In regard to the sentence "The news which we received last month was unbelievable," What is the news? Not sure! But it was which we received. We received the news. We received which. The relative pronoun which and the news are equivalent; thus, "which we received last month" is an adjective clause.

Finally, let's take a look at "It's a time when wars should cease." What's a time? 'when wars should cease'. Both 'a time' and 'when wars should cease' are equivalent. Therefore, 'when wars should cease' is an appositive clause.
1. The news that he won surprised us all. Noun clause. Apposition.
2. The news which we received last month was unbelievable. Adjective clause. (Relative.)
3. It is a fact that the earth is round. Noun clause. Fronting of Dummy it.
4. The fact that the earth is round is well-known. Noun clause. Apposition.

CJ
Dear Sir

Thank you very much for your explanation about the diffrence between noun clauses and relative clauses. Now, I would like to ask you one more question which is about the compariosons of adjectives. The sentenses are as below:

1. Which is the most useful thing to own: a computer or a car? or Which is more useful thing to own: a computer or a car?
2. Which is near to your house: a school or a supermarket?

Could you please tell me the difference between the two sentences.
Thank you very much for your hard work.

Your sincerely,
Sothy
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AnonymousWe use the comparative more to compare two things, the superlative most to compare three or more.

1. Which is the most useful thing to own: a computer or a car? Based on the usages that I've just shared with you, this sentence could present a problem unless you mean 'Between a computer and a car, compared to other items besides them, which one is the most useful?' In other words, you do a double comparison.

or Which is more useful thing to own: a computer or a car? Okay. Between a computer and a car (two items), which one is more useful?

2. Which is near to your house: a school or a supermarket? Which one is near to / far from your house? If you want to compare the nearness, use nearer.

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your feedback on my questions.However, I am not sure of your latter explanation. The question: " Which is the most useful thing to own: a computer or a car?", according to you, is incorrect. But the second one, " Which is more useful thing to own: a computer or a car?" is correct. Your answer is based on the English grammar rules of comparisons of adjectives; that's great. In fact, my colleagues and I have the same understanding following the grammar rules of comparisons, but the correct answer to this question is the first one not the second one, according to the Cutting Edge Coursebook, Pre-Intermediate, Longman. You see, I did't want to tell you the correct answer from any sources because I was afraid of the thing that happened to my first experience " Noun clauses vs. adjective clauses."
In addition, I have also some more experience in finding such a kind of this comparative adjective sentence on the Internet. Its explanation is beyond our best. The author always explains it in another diffrent way because it is a tricky sentence. He or she suggests us that we should not think of only the two things in question, but also we should ......... The question is: Which is...........................(good) team in this season: Manchester United or Liverpool? Please tell me the answer- comparative or superlative?

Thank you very much for your consideration and cooperation.

Best regards,

Sothy Sin
Cambodia
Hi,

I still believe that in comparing only two items, the second sentence is correct, not the first one (i.e. comparative, not superlative).

In regard to the last one, as I said earlier, if you compare the nearness of two places, nearer is my choice. That said, I can see the that near makes sense as follows:

I did not catch what you've just said about the place that is near to your house - the hospital or the supermarket, which one?

In that case, no comparison is made, but a request for clarification.
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