Could you tell me what type of subordinate clause it is: predicative or object?

I felt (or had a feeling) that they had no objections.

I know that if we have such construction: "I felt as if they had no objections" - the subordinate clause is predicative, but the sentence structure and meaning are different from my sentence,right?

1 Answer 1


Feel enters into at least four different syntactic constructions:

He felt sick ... Here the adjective sick is a Predicate Complement attributed to the Subject.

He felt dismay ... Here the noun dismay is the Direct Object; but it signifies an emotion or sensation, a 'feeling', which again is attributed to the Subject. The same structure is exhibited by the 90s catchphrase I feel your pain.

He felt as if he had been punched ... Here the comparative clause as if he had been punched is technically an adverbial, but again it effectively attributes a sensation or emotion to the Subject. It 'implies' a nominal Object which the comparative preposition phrase modifies.

In these feel has the sense "experience some emotion in oneself". In the fourth construction, feel has the sense "perceive imprecisely or without certainty":

He felt {that / ∅} they had no objections ... Here the clause they had no objections is the Direct Object. The complementizer that may be omitted. This may also be used with noun phrases: He felt their satisfaction.

HAVE a feeling works a little differently. Noun phrase complements of feeling are expressed with of:

He had a feeling of dismay.
He had a feeling of their satisfaction. (This is fairly rare.)

In effect, the preposition also acts as a complementizer; this is the case, too, with preposition phrases headed by as if:

He had a feeling as if he had been punched.

A clausal object, however, has its own complementizer, either that or :

He had a feeling {that / ∅} they had no objections.

But all this is on the margins of grammatical analysis, whether your grammar is Traditional or Modern.

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