Topic 7: Nominal Clauses (2): Wh- & Yes-No interrogative nominal clauses

Outline of the lesson

Objectives

Required reading

Key terms

Introduction

Form and functions of:

  • wh-interrogative nominal clauses
  • Yes/No interrogative nominal clauses

Summary

Self study questions

Objectives

By the end of the lesson, the student will be  able to:

1.explain the form of the wh-interrogative  nominal clause.

2.discuss the functions of the wh–  interrogative nominal clause.

3.explain the form of the yes-no interrogative  nominal clause.

4.discuss the functions of the yes-no  interrogative clause.

Required Readings

Quirk, R. & Greenbaum, S. (1973). university grammar of English. Essex:  Longman. (pp. 317-319)

› Thompson, G. (2014). Introducing  functional grammar (3rd ed.). New York  & London: Routledge. (pp. 14-26)

Key terms

wh-clause

Yes/No clause

Wh-interrogative nominal  clause

Defining wh-int. nominal clause

The wh-interrogative nominal clause is  introduced by a wh-word.

›Wh-words include: ‘what, who, which, how,  when, why, where, etc.’

Functions of the wh-int. nominal clause

Wh-interrogative nominal clause can function  as:

Subject

direct Object

subject Complement

prepositional Complement

adjective Complement

 

Subject

a)What you say here will be an evidence against you in  the courtroom.

b)Why Obed slapped his friend still baffles my mind.

c)How the commodity will sell depends on the  packaging.

 

vdirect Object

i.I knew what was on your mind.

ii.Mercy confirmed why she took that decision

iii.The guys wondered how they would cope with  the online class.

iv.The police questioned where Dede slept in the  midst of the covid-19.

v.We can’t imagine what made him do it.

 

vsubject Complement

a)Harmattan season is when all trees shed their leaves.

b)Mount Calvary was where the Saviour was crucified.

c)That’s why most of you people are vulnerable.

d)My favourite past experience was when I swam in the  sea for the first time.

e)This is what he said.

f)The problem is not who created the virus, but who will  kill it.

 

prepositional Complement

i.I wrote about how Dela behaved towards me.

ii.Ansah responded to what the media asked him.

iii.The lifting of the lockdown depends on how we  practice social distancing.

iv.The picnic took place at where the dog was killed.

v.No one was consulted on who should have the  crown.

 

adjectival Complement

i.I wasn’t certain whose house I was in.

ii.It was unfortunate how Covid-19 swept  through Accra.

iii.We were not sure what made Osei reveal the  secret.

 

Yes-no interrogative nominal  clause

The yes-no interrogative nominal clause is  introduced by if or whether:

1.Do you know if/whether the banks are open

2.I wonder if/whether he doesn’t expect too much  from her.

›The yes-no interrogative clause can be in a  form an alternative question with the structure  if/whether … not:

1.I don’t know whether it will rain or be sunny.

2.I don’t care if your car breaks down or not.

Only whether can be directly followed by or  not:

1.I don’t care whether or not your car breaks  down. (correct)

2.*I don’t care if or not your car breaks down.  (wrong).

›If cannot introduce a clause functioning as  Subject:

1.Whether it rains or not doesn’t concern me.  (correct)

2.*If it rains or not doesn’t concern me.  (wrong).

 

Functions of the yes-no int. nom. clause

Yes-no interrogative clauses function as:

Subject

Object

Complement

adjective Complement

 

Subject

› Examples are highlighted below:

1.Whether or not school reopens doesn’t change  anything.

2.Whether she divorced me or not is not your  concern.

 

Subject

›If cannot introduce a clause functioning as  Subject:

1.Whether it rains or not doesn’t concern me.  (correct)

2.*If it rains or not doesn’t concern me.  (wrong).

 

direct Object

›Examples are highlighted below:

1.I don’t know if/whether he is in the room.

2.We discussed if/whether he should be  allowed to run another term.

3.I wonder if/whether he reasons at all.

 

indirect Object

› Examples are highlighted below:

1.Efia asked me if/whether I would be coming to  her birthday party.

2.The doctor questioned me if/whether I had fever.

 

subject Complement

› Examples are highlighted below:

i.The question is whether we will write our exams in  school.

ii.The problem is whether I will be allowed to write  the paper without my ID card.

 

adjective Complement

› Examples are highlighted below:

i.I don’t care whether or not your car breaks  down.

ii.I’m not sure if/whether he will accept your  explanation.

 

adjective Complement

› Examples are highlighted below:

i.I don’t care whether or not your car breaks  down.

ii.I’m not sure if/whether he will accept your  explanation.

 

SUMMARY

› This lesson examined two types of nominal clauses:

1.Wh-interrogative nominal clause

2.Yes-no interrogative nominal clause.

› The wh-interrogative nominal clause is introduced by a wh–  word

› The wh-nominal clause performs the following functions:  Subject, direct Object, subject Complement, prepositional  Complement, adjective Complement.

› The yes-no interrogative,  subject Complement, adjective Complement. nominal clause is introduced by if or

whether

› The yes-no interrogative nominal clause performs the  following functions: Subject, direct Object, indirect

Self Study Questions

Identify the wh-interrogative nominal clauses in the following sentences and state their functions:

1.What we saw that day was very amazing.

2.The scare of covid-19 is why all students are at  home.

3.I believed what Nana Yaa told me last night.

4.We talked about how we could support the covid-  19 victims.

Provide your own examples to illustrate the following functions of the yes-no interrogative clause:

1.Subject

2.direct Object

3.indirect Object

4.subject Complement

5.adjective Complement

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