The complex sentence with an object clause

§ 154. An object clause may be introduced by conjunctions (that, if, whether, whether... or, lest), or connectives. The latter may be conjunctive pronouns (who, whoever, what, whatever, which), or conjunctive adverbs (where, wherever, when, whenever, why, how).

An object clause may refer toany verbal form, either finite or nonfinite


Jon followed, wondering if he had offended her.

I don’t know why I like you so much.

I left her to do whatever she thought fit.

She often reproached herself for what she had said.

He was terrified that she would forget about it soon.


An object clause may either follow or precede the main clause; it may be joined asyndetically and in this case it always follows the main clause.


Swithin said he would go back to lunch at Timothy’s.

What she thinks it would be impossible to say.


Object clauses may refer to someadjectives expressing perception, desire, feeling, assurance (certain, sure, sorry, pleased, desirous, jealous, anxious, etc.), and tostatives (aware, afraid, etc.).

Certain that Hugh was really following the girl, he had but to keep him in sight and remain unseen.

I’m verysorry I disturbed you.

He wasanxious lest somebody should guess his secret.

He wasglad that no one was at home.


After some adjectives denoting a state (glad, sorry, happy, etc.) the object clause may imply semantically the cause of that state. This similarity to an adverbial clause of cause may present some difficulty in analysing such sentences as:


I am very sorry I disturbed you ——→ I am very sorry because I disturbed you.


Afteradjectives and participles denoting wish or intention (anxious, determined, interested, etc.) the object clause may imply purpose: I am anxious that you should succeed.

Occasionally an object clause may refer to a verbal noun.


She had green eyes and aspattering of what Joseph called American freckles across the bridge of her



Types of object clauses

§ 155. Like objects in a simple sentence, object clauses may vary in their relation to the principal clause and in the way they are attached to the word they refer to or depend on.


1. An object clause may directly follow the word it refers to (a non-prepositional object clause). In this case it is parallel in function to a direct object.


Jon wondered if he had offended her.

I know when I am wasting time.


A typical most recurrent type of object clauses is indirect speech following verbs of saying.


He said he had never heard of it.

He asked me if I wanted to stay.


Object clauses of this subtype are more informative than their main clauses, the role of the latter being relegated to that of introducing the source of information.


Like subject clauses, object clauses may be preceded by the formalit,usually after the verbs to feel, to believe, to consider, to find, to take, to like, to insist on, etc.


You may takeit that it is a genuine check.

I likeit when people are nice to me.

I insist uponit that you tell me all the details.

You are to see toit that there should be no quarrel.


An object clause may refer to formalit followed by the objective predicative after the verbs to think, to find, to make, to consider, etc.


I foundit strange that she could speak so calmly.

I thinkit necessary that you should go there at once.

He madeit clear that his intentions were honest.


2. Object clauses parallel in function to indirect objects are very rare. However, they are possible, the necessary condition for it being that the object clause should be followed by a direct object.


You may give whoever you like any presents.

3. There are also cases whenan object clause functions like a cognate object to a verb.

He and his mamma knew very few people and lived what might have been thought very lonely lives.


4. An object clause may be joined to the main clause by the preposi­tions after, about, before, beyond, for, near, of, as to, except, etc. (a prepositional object clause). In this case it is parallel in function to a prepositional non-recipient object. If a preposition is very closely attached to the preceding verb or adjective (to agree upon, to call for, to comment upon, to depend on, to hear of, to insist on, to be certain of, to be sorry for, etc.) it generally precedes the object clause.


I am not certain of what he did.

I want to be paid for what I do.


Some prepositions which would be indispensable before nounsor gerunds used as objects are not always necessary before object clauses.


We insisted that he should stay with us.

(We insisted on his staying with us.)

We agreed that the experiment should be stopped.

(We agreed upon stopping the experiment.)


The preposition is retained when there is a formal objectit foilowed by an object clause.

We insistedon it that he should stay with us.

We agreedupon it that the experiment should be stopped.

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