Monday, August 7, 2023

Noun Phrase | English Grammar

What is a Noun Phrase?

A noun phrase is a group of words that functions as a noun in a sentence. It consists of a noun or pronoun ( a person, place, or thing) as the main headword along with modifiers that provide more information about the noun. Noun phrases can be simple or complex and play various roles in sentences.

Structure of a Noun Phrase

A basic noun phrase consists of the following elements:

1. Noun (Head): The core word that names a person, place, thing, or idea.

2. Determiners: Words that come before the noun to specify its reference or quantity. Common determiners include articles (a, an, the), demonstratives (this, that), possessives (my, his, their), and quantifiers (some, many, few).

3. Adjectives: Words that describe or modify the noun, providing additional characteristics or qualities.

4. Prepositional Phrases: Optional phrases that begin with a preposition and provide further information about the noun's location, direction, or time.

Examples of Noun Phrases

1. The black cat sat on the windowsill.

(Noun: cat, Determiner: the, Adjective: black)

2. My friend invited me to the party.

(Noun: friend, Determiner: my)

3. Three little kittens lost their mittens.

(Noun: kittens, Determiner: three, Adjectives: little, their)

4. The old house at the end of the street is haunted.

(Noun: house, Determiner: the, Adjective: old, Prepositional Phrase: at the end of the street)

Types of Noun Phrases: 1) Basic Noun Phrase and 2) Complex Noun Phrase

1) Basic Noun Phrase: Basic noun phrase which consists of a head and a determiner.

There are three types of Determiners.

i) Pre-Determiner:

  • Multiplier: double, twice, three times, etc.
  • Fraction: one-third, two-fifths, three-quarters, etc.
  • Distributive: both, all, half, etc.
  • Intensifier: quite, rather, not really, indeed, etc.
  • Excamative: what, such, etc.

ii) Central Determiner:

  • Article: a, an, the, etc.
  • Demonstrative: this, that, these, those, etc.
  • Possessive: my, your, his, her, our, their, etc.
  • Interrogative: which, what, etc.

iii) Post Determiner:

  • Number: one, two, second, fourth, next, last, etc.
  • Quantifier: each, every, any, some, few, little, many, much, several, etc.


All the trees, little money, the first, four times his salary, the next page, little money, my book

2) Complex Noun Phrase: Noun Phrase which consists head and modifier and more complex than basic noun phrases.

i) Pre Modifier

  • Determiner: Pre determiner, Central Determiner, Post Determiner
  • Adverb: very, too, so, etc.
  • Adjective: smart, messy, hot, etc.
  • Participle: present participle, past participle

ii) Post Modifier

  • Adjective: Especially to head "indefinite pronoun" at the post-positive adjective
  • Prepositional Phrase: On the table, about you, from him, etc.
  • Participle: Present participle (standing beside the fireplace, driving with the lights on) atau past participle (left without notice, stored away from chemicals)
  • Infinitive: to eat, to read, etc.
  • Relative clause: who makes me laugh, which is the oldest language, etc.


A very small school in this country, that was built in 1980.

  • Premodifier: 1. Determiner "A" 2. Adverb "Very" 3. Adjective "Small"
  • Head: 1. Noun "School"
  • Post Modifier: 1. Prepositional Phrase "In this country" 2. Relative Clause "That was built in 1980."

Functions of Noun Phrases

Noun phrases can serve various functions in a sentence, including:

1. Subject: The noun phrase that performs the action or is the main focus of the sentence.

e.g., The brave knight rescued the princess._

2. Direct Object: The noun phrase that receives the action of the verb.

e.g., The artist painted a beautiful landscape.

3. Indirect Object: The noun phrase that indicates the recipient or beneficiary of the action.

e.g., He gave his sister a lovely gift.

4. Object of a Preposition: The noun phrase that follows a preposition.

e.g., She walked along the riverbank.

5. Appositive: A noun phrase that provides additional information about another noun.

e.g., My best friend, Sara, is coming over.

6. Subject Complement: A noun phrase that renames or describes the subject.

e.g., The winner was John, my cousin.

Practice Exercises

1. Identify the noun phrases in the following sentences.

a. The tall girl plays basketball well.

b. We went to the new restaurant for dinner.

c. The professor handed out several challenging assignments.

d. The bright morning sun warmed the earth.

2. Create your own sentences using different noun phrases in different functions (e.g., subject, direct object, object of a preposition).

Remember: Noun phrases are versatile and essential components of sentences that provide important details and context. Understanding their structure and functions can enhance your overall comprehension and writing skills.

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