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Consider this sentence

A noun clause cannot be a sentence by itself. It is always part of a sentence that contains an independent clause.

I guess it is idiomatic.

Does it mean the same thing if I substitute "on its own" for "by itself"?

A noun clause cannot be a sentence on its own. It is always part of a sentence that contains an independent clause.

Per a post, those two phrases seem to mean slight different. Although, I don't see the difference in this noun clause context. Could someone please give a hint? Thanks in advance.

  • The sentence should begin with A either way. – User112638726 Mar 25 at 0:27
  • @User112638726 Thanks for your reminder. I've updated my OP. – WXJ96163 Mar 25 at 0:39
  • Also per the question, by itself, sounds more natural, although both mean the same thing in context. – User112638726 Mar 25 at 0:48
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‘By itself’ and ‘on its own’ can have slightly different meanings, as in the post you linked, but in this context they have exactly the same meaning. By itself does sound more natural, because the sentence with ‘on its own’ would sound more natural as ‘a noun clause cannot make a sentence on its own’; I think the verb to be doesn’t really... sound natural with ‘on its own’. Not sure why.

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