Talk:Dependent clause

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Is the example correct?[edit]

no I do not understand what dependent clause is what is it?

The article starts with: "A dependent clause (or subordinate clause) cannot stand alone as a sentence. In itself, a dependent clause does not express a complete thought."

And later uses this example: "My sister cried because she scraped her knee." Is 'she scraped her knee' really a dependent clause? It seems like it can stand alone as a sentence quite well. Torc2 22:35, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

The example is right, it's the statement that "A dependent clause (or subordinate clause) cannot stand alone as a sentence. In itself, a dependent clause does not express a complete thought" that is wrong. It's only true of certain subordinate clauses, not all of them. "Dependent clause" describes the function of the clause in a particular sentence, not the structure of the clause itself. I think that misleading statement should be removed, but as I see there have been some wars over this article already I'd sooner leave that to a more experienced editor.

Digitig (talk) 14:17, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

I believe this is the dependent clause in that sentence: "because she scraped her knee." Unprompted 02:12, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

They must mean to exclude the conjunction ("because"), or else it would be useless even with independent clauses: "She is crying and she scraped her knee." -- the clause here does not stand on its own either unless you drop the conjunction "and." I'm not suggesting that that "because" doesn't indicate a dependent clause, only that the stand-alone test is a little faulty here. Torc2 20:37, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Well actually, "because" is not a coordinating conjunction in this sentence; it's a subordinating conjunction. A coordinating conjunction connects two independent clauses, which is what "and" is functioning as here. JRNorbergé 08:34, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Cannot stand alone as a sentence[edit]

I vaguely remember a teacher in high school using a word for dependent clauses used alone for emphasis. "It's so cold out!" "I'm so hungry." The only examples I can think of involve "so," but I'm not sure if it is the only case or if these are even correct examples. I can't seem to find any information on this concept. Am I imagining things? I am so confused. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Unprompted (talkcontribs) 0:21, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

"So" is being used as an adverb there, not a dependent clause. If you can substitute the word "very," "so" is being used as an adverb. Torc2 20:37, 13 February 2007 (UTC
Actually, these sentences are called "exclamations." JRNorbergé 08:40, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
Also, none of those clauses that you questioned about were dependent clauses, however they are still exclamations. If they were dependent clauses, I think they might fall under the category of ejaculations, but I'm not quite sure.JRNorbergé 08:42, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
Might these fit the bill? "What a beautiful day it is!" "Grandma, what big eyes you have." "How happy I am to call myself a Turk." Q·L·1968 19:58, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
what is noun clause ?????? ****  —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.28.230.230 (talk) 19:15, 5 February 2010 (UTC) 

Adverb clauses[edit]

"He saw Mary when he was in New York" and "They studied hard because they had a test" are both examples of adverb clauses.

This could cause some confusion. Wouldn't it be better to say they are both examples CONTAINING adverb clauses?

89.102.4.222 17:13, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Avoid prescribing language rules without giving a precise context![edit]

Because it is offensive. No need to say something like: "Avoid creating a sentence fragment." Nothing wrong with sentence fragments in informal contexts. Questionable prescriptionist advice in an encyclopedia? Better not.

Well, I guess one should not overdo it. In any case I made a half-hearted attempt to deal with this. I did not delete the section, because it contains valuable advice for the victims of the predictionist extremism often practised in schools. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:12, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

By the way, what's the name of the "owner" of a dependent clause, i.e. the part of the sentence that it depends on? (This is what led me here.) --Hans Adler (talk) 13:08, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Where does it say Wikipedia shouldn't be prescriptive? Also, how is is stating that a sentence fragment doesn't express a complete thought POV? Can you give examples of adjective clauses does not express a complete thought that stand alone as complete thoughts? Torc2 (talk) 01:18, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Second and third question first. In my opinion, the second fragment in what I wrote above clearly expresses as complete a thought as most complete sentences. So does the third. And, arguably, the fourth. And how about this self-referencing rhetorical question? And the fragments preceding it? Lots of fragments that express complete thoughts. OK, admittedly none of my fragments so far was an adjective clause.

"In my opinion, the second fragment in what I wrote above clearly expresses as complete a thought as most complete sentences." - Actually, it doesn't. "Nothing wrong with sentence fragments in informal contexts" has an implied pronoun and verb: "There is". Your second through fourth sentences do not stand alone as complete thoughts out of context; they only work within the context of your entire statement, and really should be separated by commas instead of periods. Saying it's "offensive" is really a stretch. I mean, really? You get offended when somebody suggests there are rules to proper, formal grammar? If you can't even provide an example of an adjective clause that stands alone, out of context as a complete thought, how can you suggest that the article is wrong? Torc2 (talk) 09:17, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
About my claim: "In my opinion, the second fragment in what I wrote above clearly expresses as complete a thought as most complete sentences." — I am not sure whether you read "the second fragment" as "No need to say something like: 'Avoid creating a sentence fragment.'" or as "Nothing wrong with sentence fragments in informal contexts." Both obviously have the same implied pronoun and verb ("There is"), as you say, so it doesn't seem to matter. — So do you claim "no it's not a complete thought" and try to justify it by saying "but it's a complete sentence, anyway, because it has an implied pronoun and verb"? That would be a second contradiction to what I said, not a justification of the first contradiction. That's probably not what you wanted to say.
Your statement: "Your second through fourth sentences do not stand alone as complete thoughts out of context; they only work within the context of your entire statement, and really should be separated by commas instead of periods." This repeats your first claim ("no it's not a complete thought") and contradicts your second claim ("but it's a complete sentence, anyway, because it has an implied pronoun and verb"). — I disagree. Let's look at my second through fourth sentence and check whether your argument works.
  • My second sentence: "No need to say something like: 'Avoid creating a sentence fragment.'" — Every competent speaker of English will automatically fill in the implied "There is". Therefore this fragment expresses exactly the same thought, conveys exactly the same meaning, as the complete sentence. If the sentence expresses a complete thought, then so does the fragment. The difference is in the structure (syntax) not in the meaning (semantics). Expressing it as a fragment is better, in my opinion, because it makes the statement a self-referential one which actually proves itself.
  • My third sentence: "Nothing wrong with sentence fragments in informal contexts." — Exactly the same arguments apply.
  • My fourth sentence: "Questionable prescriptionist advice in an encyclopedia?" — Exactly the same arguments should apply with "should there be" rather than "there is", but I admit that they don't. Without the minimal context consisting of the answer "Better not," it could also be something like: "are you insinuating that you have found this". But the context is there. Many complete sentences become gibberish when taken out of context. Even in formal writing (except in legal writing such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, where people discuss and vote on individual sentences):
When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Strunk and White (1918), Introduction.
You say the three sentences "should be separated by commas instead of periods." If it implies to the fragments, then it implies to the sentences as well. So let's see what it looks like in both cases:
"No need to say something like: 'Avoid creating a sentence fragment,' nothing wrong with sentence fragments in informal contexts, questionable prescriptionist advice in an encyclopedia?"
"There is no need to say something like: 'Avoid creating a sentence fragment,' there is nothing wrong with sentence fragments in informal contexts, should there be questionable prescriptionist advice in an encyclopedia?"
No, this is not an improvement at all. It's quite irritating. (I also tried it with semicolons, but the effect is essentially the same.) --Hans Adler (talk) 11:24, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I apologize, I was counting the sentences within that paragraph rather than the paragraph before. Specifically: "So does the third. And, arguably, the fourth. And how about this self-referencing rhetorical question?" These are not the same kind of sentence fragments as your previous examples, and alone they do not express a complete thought. They're not even saved by saying the pronoun and verb; I could not walk up to you in the street and say "so does the third" and expect it to be a clear, complete thought. Those were the fragments that I meant should be separated by commas instead of periods.
Let me address some of your other examples: "No need to say something like: 'Avoid creating a sentence fragment.'" or as "Nothing wrong with sentence fragments in informal contexts." - In informal English, it's acceptable because the noun and verb are inferred. In formal written English, however, it is considered grammatically incomplete. Neither bears any relevance to this article since they are not adjective clauses.
"Questionable prescriptionist advice in an encyclopedia?" - This only works as an exclamatory sentence, to express surprise or shock. In that sense, it's not a sentence fragment. If you intended it as a legitimate question, it would be a sentence fragment and an incomplete thought; I wouldn't know if you're asking if there is questionable advice or if we should put questionable advice into an encyclopedia. Torc2 (talk) 12:30, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Now look at the example "Whose big, brown eyes pleaded for another cookie." What happens if we replace the relative pronoun by a personal pronoun? The fragment becomes a sentence, but the only added information (if it is not clear from context) is whether "who" is a "he", "she", or "it". So is this example an incomplete thought, while "Her big, brown eyes pleaded for another cookie" is a complete thought? Certainly not. Three possibilities remain:

  1. "Whose big, brown eyes pleaded for another cookie" expresses a complete thought.
  2. "Her big, brown eyes pleaded for another cookie" does not express a complete thought. Therefore such sentences should be discouraged.
  3. The term "complete thought" has no justification. It has been made up by a prescriptionist who did not bother to make the research that should come before prescribing.
If you replace the relative pronoun with a personal pronoun, it isn't an adjective clause anymore, is it? This example really doesn't make any sense. It's like saying "I gone to the store" must be acceptable grammar because, if you replaced "gone" with "went", it would be OK. Torc2 (talk) 09:17, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
"If you replace the relative pronoun with a personal pronoun, it isn't an adjective clause anymore." Correct. "This example really doesn't make any sense." Wrong. I think you are confusing syntax and semantics. "I gone to the store" is not acceptable grammar (syntax) in formal English. (While within some families it might be perfectly acceptable, whereas "I went to the store" could give rise to remarks about trying to sound [substitute the appropriate synonym for "posh" here].) But "I gone to the store", "I went to the store", "I went to the shop", "J'allais au magasin", "Ich ging zum Geschäft" and "In tabernam ibam" all express the same thought. Similarly for the different thought expressed by "I gone to the store", "I went to the store", "I went to the warehouse", "J'allais au dépôt", "Ich ging zum Lagerhaus" and "In horreo ibam". Si j'exprime ma pensée dans une langue impropre pour le contexte, est-ce que ça rend la pensée incomplète? Non. Me speak not good make me think not good? \forall s(\neg\operatorname{correct}(\operatorname{syntax}(s))
\implies\neg\operatorname{complete}(\operatorname{semantics(s)}))? --Hans Adler (talk) 12:08, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
The scope of my comments and the scope of the article (at least in its current state) is limited to formal English. Informally, you can say whatever you want, which is why it's kind of useless to talk about the grammatical elements of informal English. I could bang on a table, grunt, and point at the salt shaker, and my meaning would be fairly easily understood. That doesn't make the grunt grammatically correct formal English. I honestly have no urge in continuing this discussion of this is the style of discourse you're going to be using; however, I would still be happy to call for an RfD if you're not content with the Fragments section of the article as currently written.Torc2 (talk) 12:30, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure what you mean by RfD. Probably not WP:RFD, and as a Wikipedia newbie I find it a bit hard to guess. Sorry if you don't like my style. I am trying to get across that most of your arguments are invalid because they confuse syntax and semantics. Which, unfortunately, matters in this case. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:41/12:53, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

There is a very fine line between relative pronouns and personal pronouns, and in Latin, for example, it seems to be even finer. Sometimes a sentence (or "fragment") refers to the previous one in such a way that the two are best understood as a single unit. Which makes things complicated. (This was an example for that.) But this does not mean that they should be joined, because the trick here is that you first read the first sentence, think about it, and once you have understood it you get an additional relative clause disguised as the next sentence. This is often very good style, and that's why the best authors do it. (When they were young, they probably did it in school as well, even though some teachers gave them bad marks for this.)

Writing good prose and writing proper English aren't synonymous concepts. By your very example, the sentence fragment does not stand alone: it does not express a complete thought without the sentence that proceeds it. The article does not state that an adjective clause can never ever ever be written as a sentence, just that it alone, out of context, does not express a complete thought.Torc2 (talk) 09:17, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
The words "express a complete thought" are not very clear, so they must be interpreted from context. If the context is, fragments should be avoided because they don't express a complete thought, then we must read the words in such a way that they don't cover perfectly good grammatical sentences which should not be avoided. In my example (1-3 above), every competent speaker who reads this sentence out of context automatically makes the following operation in their head: "There is a relative pronoun here, and I don't know what it refers to. Probably a dog. Because I don't now the previous sentence I don't know if the speaker accepts the dog like a person and knows or guesses its sex (he or she) or not (it)." The amount of information that is lost here is marginal. Translate this example to a language that doesn't have separate words for "he"/"she"/"it", or just add some more context, and there is no loss of information. "Who had given birth to the cutest pups I have ever seen, and whose big, brown eyes now pleaded for another cookie". --Hans Adler (talk) 12:31, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

The next example, "Why Fred cannot stand sitting across from his sister Melanie" could be used as a perfectly good title. You will easily find an analogous example that could be used, as a title, even in extremely formal contexts. I think that, again, it contains about as complete a thought as the average complete sentence.

Titles aren't required to be complete thoughts or follow the rules of grammar. In any case the statement on its own implies a noun and verb such as "This is" proceeds it. It's acceptable in the same way that sentences like "Come here" and "Sit down" are acceptable even though they don't strictly have a subject: the subject "You" is implied.Torc2 (talk) 09:17, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

As to the first question: WP:NOT#GUIDE – Wikipedia is not a repository for instruction manuals. As a consequence: WP:NOT#DICT — "Descriptive articles about languages, dialects or types of slang (such as Klingon language, Cockney or Leet) are desirable. Prescriptive guides for prospective speakers of such languages are not." For further information you can follow the link to Linguistic prescription that I provided above, and perhaps have a look at its Talk page.

Ah, OK. I was unaware of that. The section has been sufficiently rewritten not to be directive, but descriptive of how the concept is used in formal, proper grammar. It's a subtle distinction anyway, and is only a superficial change: altering the tone from "do this" to "this is how it's done in practice". Your change of 'formal' to 'very formal' didn't address this at all, and seems unnecessary. Do you have any source that makes a distinction between "formal" and "very formal", or for your argument that an adjective cause can stand alone as a complete thought? I have removed the POV tag until there's a source for the statement, or examples of adjective clauses can stand alone (completely alone) as complete thoughts. If you disagree with this, please note so here and I will be more than happy to submit a RfD and we can reach consensus with other users.Torc2 (talk) 09:17, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Do you mean WP:RFC when you write RfD? And yes, I disagree. You think that your point of view is right, and I think that my point of view is right. Either of us has given arguments which the other doesn't accept as valid. Looks like there is a WP:POV problem here. So what's the problem? I don't understand why I need to give a source for my (subjectively obvious) point of view, if you need not give one for your (subjectively obvious) point of view.
I will not restore the POV tag because of WP:EW. I would prefer it if you restored it until neutral language comparable to Linguistic prescription (which originally had the opposite bias to this page) can be found. If you don't want to do this, I am also happy with a Request for Comment. --Hans Adler (talk) 13:12, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

As I see it there are two challenges here. One is to get the advice right. And the other is to formulate it so it's appropriate for an encyclopedia. I must admit that my version wasn't ideal, either, but I will revert to it now, restoring the POV tag, and go to bed. (It's 3:30 am for me.) --Hans Adler (talk) 03:54, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

By the way, Dependent clause#Fragments looks as if copied directly from a handout used by a teacher. So there might be a copyright problem as well (if it was copied without the author's consent). We might consider replacing the examples. The rest must be rephrased anyway to make it fit into Wikipedia. --Hans Adler (talk) 04:01/04:02, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, probably. I didn't add it, so I don't know. I would say unless somebody complains or has evidence that it was copied, there really isn't sufficient cause to dump the whole thing. It definitely could use some rewriting though.Torc2 (talk) 09:20, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Avoid prescribing..., Part II[edit]

As the discussion between Torc2 and me (Hans Adler) took a lot of space (my fault, I admit) without getting us closer to a resolution, it's probably best to start again in a new section, with a new format.

  • For clarity and easy reference I will rephrase my position concerning the content of the article here. Perhaps Torc2 will do the same later.
    1. The article Dependent clause contains thinly disguised advice (contrary to WP:NOT#GUIDE),
    2. which I was surprised to find in an encyclopedia entry on a linguistic term. See WP:NOT#DICT.
    3. The section on "Fragments", in the state in which I found it, was particularly problematic
    4. because it gave advice in imperative form, saying: "Avoid creating a sentence fragment."
    5. As it did not give any context whatsoever, this was bad advice.
    6. The next sentence tried to give a justification for this advice:
      A. "An adjective clause does not express a complete thought,
      B. so it cannot stand alone as a sentence."
    7. Each of the following reasons would alone be enough to make this justification dubious:
      C. "Complete thought" is a dubious term because it looks like a technical term (and is often used as if it was one) but has no exact definition.
      D. It is easy to make up adjective clauses which do express a "complete thought" (for every plausible interpretation of these words). (Example: "Who had given birth to the cutest pups I have ever seen, and whose big, brown eyes now pleaded for another cookie".)
      E. It is easy to find examples of complete sentences in English literature which do not express a "complete thought" (again, for every plausible interpretation of these words). (Example: "When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation." Strunk and White (1918), Introduction.)
    8. Since the justification is controversial, it amounts to original research. So it breaks WP:NOR.
    9. Advice like this is often labelled as "prescriptionist." The term has a neutral meaning, discussed in the article on linguistic_prescription. But it is often used in a derogatory way, as can be seen in a historical version of the same article. Professional linguists in English-speaking countries seem to have a tendency in this direction, because there is a long history of books like Strunk and White (1918) which are based on incorrect assumptions and incorrect observations. (And which fail to follow their own advice, because apparently it is not meant literally.) Following WP:OR (not a policy) would favour the experts' opinions in such a case.
    10. As there are two factions with opposing opinions, the article should reflect this (WP:NPOV).
--Hans Adler (talk) 14:51, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Here is my position as to process:
    1. I replaced an imperative with a more "neutral", although still inappropriate, formulation and tagged the following sentence with {{POV-statement}}: "An adjective clause does not express a complete thought, so it cannot stand alone as a sentence." I also started this discussion in the previous section.
    2. Torc2 disagreed, responded on this page and removed the POV tag.
    3. I considered Torc2's arguments reasonable but invalid. As there were clearly opposing points of view I restored the POV tag.
    4. Torc2 removed it again.
    5. I do not consider this reaction reasonable and strongly object to it. But because of WP:EW I will not touch Dependent clause again before I feel there is a consensus on how to proceed now.
    6. This has grown out of all proportion, and I feel we should be able to solve this conflict without wasting other editors' time by means of a Request for Comment (which, I think, Torc2 meant by RfD). On the other hand, this could bring the necessary attention to this article. I am not motivated to rewrite it because it is not my area of expertise. --Hans Adler (talk) 15:15, 18 November 2007 (UTC) [Renumbered for unique identification --Hans Adler (talk) 09:15, 19 November 2007 (UTC)]
  • I revised the statement before removing the POV tag. If you disagree with the section as it currently exists, please state so here, provide a source for the statement that an adjective clause can stand alone as a complete thought; the burden of proof is on you to provide evidence and sources for changing this. Torc2 (talk) 22:50, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I reformatted your last post (turning : into *) to make this discussion linear. I hope that was OK. Otherwise feel free to undo this. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:46, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
  • This is not an argument; it's contradiction. You win: I will start a WP:RFC. Apparently I must start a new section for this. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:46, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

RFC: Are complete thoughts POV?[edit]

Two editors disagree whether the following statement is reasonable: "Since an adjective clause does not express a complete thought, it cannot stand alone as a sentence." Should it be flagged as POV? If the editors cannot agree whether it should be flagged, who bears the burden of proof: The editor who claims that it is a POV conflict, or the editor who claims that it isn't? Discuss.

The editor who wants to change the article bears the burden of proof per WP:V. The statement is not POV because the Fragments section already establishes that the context of the statement is formal English. Nobody has provided a source (or even an example) of an adjective clause that stands alone as a complete thought in proper grammar. Torc2 (talk) 03:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

You are using faulty logic on so many levels that it is hard to catch them all. Sorry for the language, but this is really getting on my nerves, and I feel that I cannot leave your repeated untrue assertions without comment.

I would suggest you walk away from the article for a few days to cool down, then. I would also suggest you tone down your rhetoric. Torc2 (talk) 20:44, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I object to being called "nobody." I have provided several examples of "an adjective clause that stands alone as a complete thought" including the one repeated under 7D above. And "complete thought in proper grammar" makes no sense because the context of speech ("proper grammar") has nothing to do with what you think. Not when you have to keep them apart because you try to justify speech rules by making assertions about states of mind. Unless you want to claim that "complete thought" is a grammatical term.
If you're actively twisting the meaning of what I wrote from "nobody has given any example" to "you have given examples, and you're nobody" you definitely are not assuming good faith anymore.
Sorry. I was getting angry because I feel you are not reading my arguments properly before trying to disprove them. I should not have used sarcasm to express this. --Hans Adler (talk) 21:56, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
"Whose big, brown eyes pleaded for another cookie" is not a complete thought. "Whose" clearly indicates that the rest of the sentence is an extension of a previous thought. If it was supposed to be a self-contained thought, it would use "Her" instead of "Whose." If you read them in a formal context, it'd read as mistake; the reader would correctly assume that the writer either intended to end the line with a question mark, or accidentally left out half of the sentence.
Here I am for the first time thinking that we might be getting into a serious discussion. What you say about "continuation of a previous thought" suggests to me that we really have different semantics for the word "thought", both of which are probably perfectly reasonable. I will have to give this some time, it might be the key to our finding common language, eventually. However, the next sentence suggests that you might be using "thought" as something that can exist on paper, rather than something that is going on in one's head and which nobody else can observe. If that's what you mean, then it's probably tautologic to justify grammar advice with it. --Hans Adler (talk) 21:56, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
(Also, the line you quoted from Strunk and White is a complete sentence. I don't know what you tink is incomplete about it.) Torc2 (talk) 20:44, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
It is complete, I have said so, and that is the point of the example. Just read it correctly. --Hans Adler (talk) 21:08, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
  • The entire "complete thought" argument is nonsense that tries to sound scientific. It's the kind of pseudo-justification that parents and teachers give when they can't answer a child's question. I don't blame them (and I am very happy that so far I could answer all of my daughter's questions), but this has no place in a dictionary. Saying it's POV is already a concession which takes into account WP:IGNORE.
  • WP:N says: "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material." A {{POV-statement}} template is not "material" just like a {{fact}} template is not "material," which is obvious from WP:V.

--Hans Adler (talk) 10:38, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

An article that says "In binary, 100+100=1000" does not need a POV tag added because people who work in hexadecimal might get offended. "An adjective clause cannot stand alone as a sentence in formal English" is a factual statement, not a statement of opinion. At most, you could tag it with {{fact}}, although the article already provides a reference source. If you want to claim it's factually untrue, just provide the source or an example that proves the statement is wrong. Torc2 (talk) 20:44, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I just realised that you have rephrased the issue in a distorting way, to make it easier to prove. When I responded to "stands alone as a complete thought" I automatically interpreted it as meaning "expresses a complete thought". The difference is important:

"Since an adjective clause does not express a complete thought, it cannot stand alone as a sentence." This tries to justify syntactical advice in terms of semantics.
"Since an adjective clause cannot stand alone as a complete thought, it cannot stand alone as a sentence." Here "cannot stand alone" sets the context for the obviously semantical notion "complete thought" as syntax, which makes no sense. It is also a tautology.

--Hans Adler (talk) 10:58, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

OK, anybody from the RFC, I really don't want to deal with this any more. I see nothing wrong with the section as currently written, there has been no compelling, sourced reason presented for the change, and I see no cause to further dilute the article because somebody claims describing the rules of formal English is offensive to people who don't follow them. Torc2 (talk) 20:44, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I never claimed what you insinuate I did except, arguably, in an eye-catching section title with which I wanted to start a discussion. I was naive. I did not expect to run into this kind of situation. Also, I don't believe that a "compelling [to you], sourced reason" is needed for a POV tag? I wonder what you would have done if I had flagged the statement {{fact}} instead. I agree that you have vastly improved the first sentence of the paragraph, but the rest is certainly never going to find its way into something like Britannica.
I will follow your advice and stop wasting my time here for a week or so. --Hans Adler (talk) 21:56, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Outsider responding to RfC: If I read right, the conflict is over the word "thought." There is no disagreement over whether an adjective clause can stand as a sentence alone; it can't. I don't see a POV issue here, since the article is inherently prescriptivist, and POV objectors would include those who dislike formal grammatical rules entirely - who wouldn't read or use this article. Perhaps change the word "thought" to something less ambiguous and open to interpretation, or some word that is complete in itself; "idea," maybe. Pishogue (talk) 05:51, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Seems to me the solution is obvious; just cite "Since an adjective clause does not express a complete thought,..." to some grammar that gives this justification. It seems the justification is what is in question. Ben Standeven (talk) 15:48, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Done. Thanks-- Torc2 09:32, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Are "essential" and "non-essential" the only correct terms here?[edit]

The punctuation section refers to "essential" and "non-essential" dependent clauses. Other readers are likely to recognize the distinction as "restrictive" and "non-restrictive" when describing the rule for using "that" or ", which" to set off a clause. Fowler also uses "defining" and "non-defining".

The different choices might be regionalisms or nationalisms, and we are not specifying a particular English as the target of this article's discussion, so we can afford to be inclusive and accommodating.

Would it, therefore, make sense to add a parenthetical mention of "restrictive/defining versus non-restrictive/non-defining", so that all the commonly used pairings are available in the the one place where they are needed (this article)?

Kevinmcl (talk) 17:51, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Should it be "adverb" ?[edit]

Under the heading "Noun clause", in the first sentence "....in the same way as a noun, adjective, verb, or pronoun", should the word "verb" be "adverb" instead?

202.130.125.102 (talk) 01:58, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Other languages[edit]

If we could recruit enough wikipedians from other countries (especially people who speak a non-Indoeuropean language), we might expand this article to cover other languages. If you have contact to e.g. Finnish, Turkish, Japanese, etc. wikipedians or are yourself one, have a look at this article and see if other languages have comparable structures. Trigaranus (talk) 18:24, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Why does it say a noun clause "can be used in the same way as a noun, adjective, verb, or pronoun"?[edit]

There are no examples in the section of a noun clause as an ADJ or V. I can't think of any.

Wikinetman (talk) 16:18, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

"usually" attached.[edit]

In addition to some small edits, I have removed this sentence:

A dependent clause is usually attached to an independent clause.

Please give one example of where it is not. In fact, the statement before this sentence contradicts this statement unless there exists a third class of clauses:

Dependent clauses cannot stand alone as a sentence.

I believe that in such cases, it would be grammatically incorrect. Furthermore, I have integrated the sentence, minus the misleading usually, into the surrounding sentences to be more concise. -- 124.150.94.103 (talk) 18:45, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

"Please give one example..."[edit]

Here’s one.

I suggest you leave the building.

In fact, the classification of clauses into dependent and independent, that given in the first lines of this article and most everywhere else, does not account for their use as subjects:

What Billy did shocked his friends.

or as the complements of transitive and linking verbs:

Billy’s friends didn’t know that he couldn’t swim.

Billy’s mistake was that he refused to take lessons.

The last three examples are taken from the DeAnza College website http://faculty.deanza.edu/flemingjohn/stories/storyReader$23 where too the clause relations are unaccounted for. The Internet Grammar of English website http://www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/clauses/xclau1.htm does better with a different classification. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.83.88.21 (talk) 23:45, 20 March 2011 (UTC)