Is this a noun clause?

I don't know which one is the correct answer.

The word "which' is the subordinating conjunction word, and it is used to connect the subordinate clause "which one is the correct answer" to the main sentence. And the sub clause works as a the object of the verb know?

1 Answer 1


I don't know [which one is the correct answer].

No, "which" is not a conjunction. It's an interrogative determinative.

The bracketed element is a subordinate interrogative clause (embedded question) functioning as complement (not object) of "know".

The meaning is

"I don't know the answer to the question 'Which one is the correct answer?'"

Note: I would advise you to drop the term 'noun clause'. The classification of finite subordinate clauses is based on their internal form rather than spurious analogies with the parts of speech.

  • 1
    Got it. Could you share a link or a book where I can learn the right classification? So far I have learned there are three types of subordinate clauses: relative clause, noun clause, and adverbial clause. It seems like googling hasn't been the most efficient way to learn on this topic. Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 14:52
  • I would strongly suggest A Student's Introduction to English Grammar by Huddleston & Pullum. See here link
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 15:18
  • Thanks for you r recommendation. Does it also apply to American English? Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 0:49
  • And I assume "which one" is the subject in the sub clause of "which one is the correct answer"? and "is" is the verb? Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 4:01
  • @ZichenWang Yes: you are right. The book I recommend is based on Standard English, both BrE and AmE.
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 8:21

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