A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.
Note that an independent clause can stand by itself and make complete sense. A dependent clause, on the other hand, cannot stand alone. It has to be attached to an independent clause.
There are three kinds of subordinate clauses: noun clause, adjective clause and adverb clause.
The noun clause
The noun clause serves the same function as a noun. It can be the subject or the object of the verb. It can also act as the subject complement.
Study the examples given below.
- That he will be selected for the job is certain.
Here the noun clause ‘that he will be selected for the job’ acts as the subject of the verb ‘is’.
- He says that he may be selected.
Here the noun clause ‘that he may be selected’ acts as the object of the verb ‘says’.
- The rumor is that their engagement has been called off.
Here the noun clause ‘that their engagement has been called off’ acts as the complement of the subject ‘the rumor’.
- The news that he had been arrested distressed his followers.
Here the noun clause ‘that he had been arrested’ is in apposition to the noun ‘news’.
A noun clause can also act as the object of a preposition.
- I am really impressed with what you have done.
Here the noun clause ‘what you have done’ is the object of the preposition ‘with’.