Unit 9.2

Subordinate noun clauses

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Introduction

The subordinate clause [oración subordinada] is a type of compound sentence structurally dependent on the nucleus of another sentence, called the main sentence [oracion principal].

There are three types of subordinate clauses: nounadjective (or relative), and adverbial.

Subordinate noun clauses [oraciones subordinadas sustantivas] have the same function as a noun or noun phrase.

Form

Subordinate noun clauses play the role of a noun phrase in a compound sentence.

There are two types of noun clauses: infinitive and inflected.

Infinitive

Infinitive noun subordinate clauses are used when the subject is the same in both the main and the subordinate clause.

They are used with verbs such as ser, gustar and querer.

They play the same role in a compound sentence as a subject or a direct object in a simple sentence in the following way:

  • the infinitive verb in subject function:
    • with the verb ser:
      Infinitive verb (subjet) + ser + …
    • with the verb gustar:
      IC pronoun + gustar + infinitive verb (subjet) + …
  • the infinitive verb in DC function:
    • with verbs of the type querer:
      (Subjet +) querer + verb en infinitive + …

Inflected

Inflected noun subordinate clauses are used when the subject is not the same in the main and subordinate clauses.

They are used with the verb creer.

They play the same role in a compound sentence as a direct object in a simple sentence in the following way:

  • the verb in the indicative in DC function:
    • with the verb creer in the affirmative form:
      (Subjet +) creer + que + verb in the indicative + …

Example

Infinitive nouns:

  • with subject function:
    • Preparar una ensalada no es complicado;
    • Esperar el postre es la mejor parte de la comida;
    • Ir al bar es una actividad muy común;
    • Me gusta ir a restaurantes con clase;
    • Os gusta pedir el menú del día nada más llegar;
    • Les gusta comer ensalada con tomate.
  • with DC function:
    • Quiero pedirme una sopa de fideos;
    • Queréis pasar ya al segundo plato;
    • Quieren cambiarse de mesa.

Inflected nouns:

  • with DC function:
    • Creo que ya llega la cuenta;
    • Creéis que a la tortilla le faltaba cebolla;
    • Creen que el camarero fue muy amable.

Use

Infinitive noun subordinate clauses are used, for example, to say what one likes or what something is or to convey mental activity by expressing what we want.

Inflected noun subordinate clauses are used, among other things, to express what we believe.

Summary

In Spanish, subordinate noun clauses have the same function as a noun. They can be infinitive noun subordinate sentences; that is, the verb can have the funcion of subject and DC (ser, gustar…), or inflected, when the verb has the function of DC (creer..)

For example:
— «Me gusta jugar al fútbol = Infinitive nouns as Subject;
— «Yo quiero jugar a fútbol.» = Infinitive nouns as DC;
— «Creo que yo voy a jugar a fútbol =Inflected nouns as DC.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

Exercises


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