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CHAPTER 11 – Definition – Completive clause – Proposition complétive

A completive clause is also known under various names:

  • complement clause
  • noun clause
  • nominal clause
  • substantive clause

In French, it is known as une proposition complétive.

A completive clause is often the direct object of a verb such as penser (think), croire (believe, think), savoir (know), voir (see), etc.  As a clause, it normally contains at least a verb.

There are three types of propositions complétives:

1. The conjunctive dependent clause introduced by the subordinating conjunctions que or ce que.

J’aimerais que tu me prennes en photoI would like you to take a picture of me.
Je ne m’attendais pas à ce qu’il vienne de sitôt.  I didn’t expect him to come that early. 

2. The infinitive dependent clause doesn’t include an introductory word, but always contains a verb in the infinitive. Usually, this type of completive clause is the object of a verb of perception like voir (see) entendre (hear), sentir (feel) :

 Elle pouvait sentir son coeur battreShe could feel her heart beat.
J’ai vu des enfants jouer dans le parc.  I saw children playing in the park.

3. The interrogative dependent clause which actually is a way to ask a question indirectly.


The interrogative clause is said to be “total” when it is introduced by si (if).

J’ignore si elle viendraI don’t know if she will come.

The interrogative clause is said to be “partial” when it is introduced by an interrogative determiner (quel), an interrogative pronoun (qui) or an interrogative adverb (pourquoi).