Our professor told us that the following sentence contains a noun clause, because it tells an idea about "the story" and does not modify it.

The story that the beach would be closed filled her with fear.

Is this correct or is it an adjective clause?


Your teacher is right. The clause does not describe (modify) the story; rather, it tells you what the story is. It is therefore not a relative (or adjective) clause functioning as a modifier, but a content (or noun) clause functioning as a complement.

Relative clauses differ syntactically from content clauses in that the former normally have a gap—a missing element which the relative referent could fill. Take a look at this sentence:

I don't like the story (that) your dad is telling __ to us.

Note that the direct object of the verb TELL is missing but we can safely assume the noun phrase the story tacitly realizes this function.

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