the belief <that love will conquer all>. [appositive vs. adjective]

  • Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    India
    Is the bold part an appositive or adjective clause?


    He maintains the belief that love will conquer all.
    It is not appositive, nor an adjective clause (the term is so useless and so much criticized in modern grammar).

    It is a content clause introduced by a subordinator "that". This clause is part of the Noun Phrase - "the belief that love will conquer all". It is a complement licensed by the head noun - "belief". And together they form a nominal - "belief that love will conquer all". And when a determinative is added with the Nominal, it forms a Noun Phrase - "the belief that love will conquer all".
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    that love will conquer all is a form of noun clause known as a "content clause". It tells you the contents of what it is that is believed.

    (Slow crosspost with a more comprehensive Man from India)
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Is the bold part an appositive or adjective clause?


    He maintains the belief that love will conquer all.
    Well, it depends on how you define "apposition," and opinions vary.

    For some, if an element (such as a clause), modifies another element (such as a noun), that's enough to call the clause an appositive clause. Under that reasoning, your example has an appositive clause.

    For others, apposition requires elements of equal syntactic status, so that you can eliminate one or the other and maintain the syntax and semantics of the sentence. Since "the belief" is a noun phrase, and the modifier is a clause, you wouldn't have "apposition."

    Now, assuming that there is no appositive clause, is "that love will conquer all" an adjective clause? Again, it depends on who you ask. Since the clause is modifying the noun phrase, that's enough for some to call it an "adjective clause."

    But this adjective clause is not a relative clause (a relative clause is the prototypical adjective clause). For some, this is a noun complement clause in an adjectival function. Why is it called a "noun complement clause"? Because, for one thing, the relationship between the noun and the clause is similar to the relationship between a verb and its direct object/complement:

    He maintains the belief that love conquers all
    He believes that love conquers all


    However, some don't like the term "noun clause." They prefer the label "content clause," defined as a subordinate finite clause that provides "content" with regards to another element. Is one term/label (noun clause; content clause) better than the other? I dunno.
     
    Last edited:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I regard discussions of the name as unimportant, but the key point is as SevenDays has said: after the noun 'belief' it has exactly the same function as after the verb 'believe', whatever you choose to call that:

    He maintains the belief that love conquers all.
    He believes that love conquers all.

    Apposition is one way that something can follow a noun, and a relative clause is one way that a clause can follow a noun, but we don't seem to have either of those here; rather, we have whatever it is you call the clause that comes after a verb.
     
    Top