It is time to take a revised look at Noun Phrases.
WHAT IS A NOUN?
A Noun can be an object, thing, place or person. (pencil, school, teacher)
A Noun can be more than one word (United States of America, Manchester United, Albert Einstein, Two Thousand and Sixteen)
A noun can be a compound noun where two words are joined together as one (classroom)
WHAT IS A NOUN PHRASE?
A noun phrase consists of a noun and a qualifyer.
There cannot be a noun phrase without a noun in it.
There must be at least two words to create a noun phrase.
- Albert (this is a noun)
- Einstein (this is a noun)
- Albert Einstein (this is a noun)
- Mister Einstein (this is a noun phrase not a noun because ‘Mister’ is a qualifyer
- the word CLASSROOM is a compound noun. It is written as ONE word, not two.
- the word CLASS is a noun
- the word ROOM is a noun
- ‘A classroom’ is a noun phrase
- ‘my class’ is a noun phrase
- ‘that room’ is a noun phrase
HOW IS A NOUN PHRASE CREATED?
It is created by adding one or more of the following types of words:
DETERMINER – the, a, my, this
INTENSIFYER – adverbs such as very, quite, extremely
ADJECTIVE – tall, pretty, delicious, large, special
NUMBERS – one, several, some, any, a hundred, various, many, much
WHAT IS THE NOUN PHRASE RULE?
The noun phrase for a noun can be before, after or both before and after the noun.
Look for the keyword noun which determines the noun phrase.
NOUN PHRASE EXAMPLE 1
The Eiffel Tower is a famous monument in Paris
- MONUMENT is the keyword NOUN
- ‘The Eiffel Tower’ is a noun phrase
- ‘famous’ is an adjective which describes the monument
- ‘in Paris’ is also a noun phrase
The Eiffel Tower, a monument in Paris beside the Seine River, is a well-known landmark
- ‘The Eiffel Tower’ is the noun phrase
- ‘A monument is a noun phrase
- ‘in Paris’ is a noun phrase
- ‘beside the Seine River’ is a prepositional phrase and a noun phrase
- ‘a well known landmark’ is a noun phrase
- There are therefore FIVE noun phrases in this sentence
NOUN PHRASE EXAMPLE 2
Lionel Messi is a famous football player who comes from Argentina and plays for Barcelona.
- ‘Lionel Messi’ is a noun phrase
- ‘a famous football player’ is a second noun phrase
- the third noun phrase is ‘who comes from Argentina’ and is created by a relative clause
- A fourth noun phrase is ‘plays for Barcelona’
NOUN PHRASE EXAMPLE 3
Let us continue with the noun CLASSROOM
- The classroom is big (the classroom is the noun phrase)
- I study in the classroom (Both ‘I study’ and the classroom are noun phrases. In other words, a pronoun can replace a noun to create a noun phrase)
NOUN PHRASE EXAMPLE 4
CONSIDER THIS SENTENCE. It is written in two different ways.
- The students of the class listened carefully to the teacher.
- The class students listened carefully to the teacher
In sentence A, there are three noun phrases (the students, the class and the teacher)
In sentence B, there are only two noun phrases (the class students, the teacher)
FINAL EXAMPLES OF NOUN PHRASES
The following sentences show sentences with noun phrases before and after the keyword noun.
- Albert Einstein is one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century (Albert Einstein is a noun. ‘greatest philosophers’ and ‘the twentieth century’ are noun phrases)
- The Louvre Art Gallery in Paris is the largest art museum in the world (the Louvre Art Gallery, in Paris, largest art museum, in the world – are separate noun phrases)
- Mister Michael is an English teacher who lives in Japan (Mister Michael, English teacher, who lives in Japan – are noun phrases)
- The Eiffel Tower is a famous monument in Paris (The Eiffel Tower, a famous monument, in Paris – are noun phrases)
- We live in a victorian town house beside the river and which used to be owned by a celebrity pop star (We live, in a victorian town house, beside the river, which used to be owned by a celebrity pop star – are noun phrases. Note ‘We live’ using a pronoun is a noun phrase)
- Please write an essay about a traditional holiday in two hundred and fifty words (an essay, traditional holiday, in two hundred and fifty words – are noun phrases)
- Speaking on television, it was an emotional speech by the President (on television, it was, an emotional speech, by the President – are noun phrases)
- While sleeping last night, I had an amazing dream about flying to the moon (While sleeping, last night, I had, an amazing dream, about flying to the moon – are all separate noun phrases. NOTE here, relative pronouns are used plus prepositional phrases)
- My Mother always said that I should not talk to strangers when i walk to school (my Mother, not talk to strangers, when I walk to school – are noun phrases. It is possible to interprete ‘when I walk’ and ‘to school’ as separate noun phrases)
- The students were ready to sit the examination in the classroom (the students, sit the examination, in the classroom – are noun phrases)
- It is widely believed that the Loch Ness Monster exists in a deep lake in Scotland (it is, the Loch Ness Monster, in a deep lake, in Scotland – are noun phrases)
- It is wrongly believed that Christopher Columbus was the first explorer to discover the United States of America in the late thirteenth century. (United States of America is a noun not a noun phrase because it is the official name of the country, even though the preposition ‘of’ suggests it is a prepositional phrase – United States OF America.
Christopher Columbus is a noun and not a noun phrase.
The noun phrases in this sentence are (It is, the first explorer, in the thirteenth century)
- Understand, know and recognize a noun
- Understand the types of words which change a noun into a noun phrase
- Understand that a noun phrase can come before, after or both before and after the keyword noun of the sentence or phrase
- Understand that pronouns can always be used as well as nouns in noun phrases
- Understand that commas are often used to offset a noun phrase within a sentence
- Understand how verb and prepositional phrases are used to create noun phrases.
THANK YOU for your time in considering this lesson.
Always practice writing, reading, memorising and speaking the sentences to improve your fluency and general English language proficiency.