The sentence is, "Listen to what she has to say." "To" is clearly a preposition, and "what she has to say" is clearly the prepositional complement. This is where I'm having trouble. How do I analyze "what she has to say". For example, is "what she has to say" a subordinate clause, or is it a noun phrase? This article calls it a subordinate clause, but I have my doubts. "What" doesn't seem like a subordinator in this context, because it seems to have a lexical meaning (Contrast "what" with "that" in the sentence, "He says that the leaves are brown"), and "she has to say" doesn't seem capable of standing on its own. So is it a noun phrase? If so, how do I analyze it? Thank you in advance for your time!


It is not a subordinate clause, it is a noun phrase, and the object of the preposition "to." It may be replaced by a pronoun:

Listen to it.

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    But in the sentence "he said that the leaves are brown," "that the leaves are brown" is clearly a subordinate clause, and yet, it can be replaced by a pronoun: "he said something" – codeMonkey17 Apr 23 '16 at 15:17
  • It is a sub clause, but it is not connected to an independent clause. Rather, "he said that the leaves are brown" is a matrix clause. In this case, the subordinating conjunction "that" signals the dependent clause "the leaves are brown," but somehow "He said" does not seem to be an independent clause. "He said" can stand alone—it has a subject and a predicate—but in some way it does not seem to communicate anything. With a sentence that includes a truly independent clause and a dependent clause, we get information from both. In your original sentence, you have an independent clause, "Listen," – user66965 Apr 23 '16 at 15:31
  • which is a command form with the “you” implied, which is generally considered an intransitive verb—it does not take a direct object. To indicate what should be listened to, you need the prepositional phrase. “What she had to say” is not a clause like “the leaves are brown”—the latter contains a subject and a predicate, the former does not. – user66965 Apr 23 '16 at 15:31

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