[00:00.00]From VOA Learning English, this is Everyday Grammar.
[00:06.46]Almost every American has seen or heard of the movie "Forrest Gump."
[00:13.15]The film is a touching story about the life of a man who faces many challenges.
[00:20.70]One of the most famous quotes from “Forrest Gump” is this:
[00:27.13]My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.
[00:33.20]You never know what you're gonna get.
[00:38.23]These lines might interest you for two reasons.
[00:42.78]First, if you mention them to an American, they will probably know what you are talking about.
[00:50.25]Second, if you study the lines carefully, you can learn how complex grammar is used in everyday speech.
[01:00.79]Today on Everyday Grammar, we are going to explore how Americans use noun clauses in speech.
[01:09.53]Just like Gump's box of chocolates, this report might have a pleasant surprise for you!
[01:17.49]Noun clauses are groups of words that act as a noun.
[01:23.66]They often begin with words such as if, what, why, and so on.
[01:31.82]These clauses have a subject and a predicate, just like a sentence.
[01:39.16]However, they do not act as sentences on their own. Instead, they have an effect on a longer, more complex sentence.
[01:51.88]Here is an example. Imagine you do not know the answer to a question in your mathematics class.
[02:00.59]You could ask, "I wonder if my teacher knows the answer?"
[02:06.83]In the sentence, the main clause, "I wonder," is followed by the if - noun clause, "if my teacher knows the answer."
[02:18.59]In this report, we are talking about noun clauses that begin with the words what, why, where, and so on.
[02:29.68]Let’s call them wh- clauses.
[02:33.11]In technical language, you could call them subordinators.
[02:38.89]They can act as subjects, objects, complements, and so on.
[02:43.43]The good news is this: Americans commonly use if- and wh- noun clauses in a few expressions.
[02:54.42]Generally, such expressions have one of the following verbs: know, see, and wonder.
[03:04.36]We will use lines from popular movies and short examples to show you how Americans use these verbs with different noun clauses.
[03:16.86]Consider this line from the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby.
[03:23.32]"No matter where he is, I thought you should know what kind of man your father really was."
[03:30.94]In the sentence, the word what leads to a clause that comes after the verb, know.
[03:38.89]This is a common pattern in American English.
[03:43.21]If you were to visit the United States, you would probably hear expressions such as "I know what..." or "I don't know what..." almost every day.
[03:56.11]Speakers will also use different wh- words to introduce clauses.
[04:02.48]For example, you could say, "I thought you should know why I came here."
[04:09.18]Or you could say, "I thought you should know where to find the post office.”
[04:15.55]You will also hear if-noun clauses with the verb know.
[04:21.85]For example, imagine that a person asked you, "Do you know if the museum is near here?"
[04:29.19]You could say, "No, I don't know if the museum is near here."
[04:35.61]Another word that is commonly followed by an if- or wh- noun clause is the verb see.
[04:44.87]Consider this line from the 1998 film “The Truman Show.”
[04:51.26]"Do you want another slice?
[04:54.90]What else is on?
[04:55.82]"Yeah, let's see what else is on."
[04:55.36]Where's the TV Guide?
[05:00.83]Americans will often use the words "Let's see what...." or "Let's see if..." to make a suggestion, as in the line from The Truman Show.
[05:13.26]At other times, speakers will use "Let's see …" in an informal way.
[05:20.14]They do not necessarily mean it as a suggestion. Consider this quote from 1999 film, “The Green Mile.”
[05:31.59]"Mr. Jingles? Where you been? Been worried about you, boy. You hungry? Hmm? Let's go see if we can't find you something to eat."
[05:47.01]These lines show you how some Americans speak, notably in the southeastern United States.
[05:55.56]The speaker is clearly not making a suggestion; instead, he is speaking to himself in an indirect way.
[06:05.17]Although he uses the negative "can't", he actually means "can."
[06:12.30]Another word that is commonly used with an if- or wh- noun clause is the verb wonder.
[06:20.79]The structure "I wonder if..." is commonly used to ask a question.
[06:27.19]Remember the example, "I wonder if my teacher knows the answer."
[06:32.40]Speakers will also use wh-clauses with the verb wonder.
[06:38.13]Many forgetful people have probably said "I wonder where my keys are?”, for example.
[06:45.26]Now that you have learned about if-and wh- clauses, think back to the film Forrest Gump.
[06:54.44]"My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
[07:04.59]Did you notice that Gump uses one of the common grammatical structures that we have talked about in this report?
[07:15.52]Although you might not suspect it, every time you watch an American film, listen to American music, or talk to an American, you can learn more grammar.
[07:29.01]All of the structures we have studied today are considered polite, and can be used in formal or informal speech.
[07:39.55]They also can be used in writing.
[07:43.56]The next time you are watching an American film, try to find complex grammatical structures like the ones we talked about.
[07:53.58]Listen for the words know, see, and wonder.
[07:57.88]What types of noun clauses do speakers use?
[08:02.10]How do they organize their sentences?
[08:05.47]This process might be difficult.
[08:08.27]But remember this: you know what you should do.
[08:13.09]I'm John Russell.
[08:15.22]And I'm Jill Robbins.