Noun Phrase


You just read a dialogue where the highlighted words are replaced by the pronoun it.The highlighted words in the first speech bubble make up a complex noun phrase.

We know that a noun phrase is a group of words that function as a subject, an object or a complement in a sentence. It consists of a head noun and some other words before or after it.

Let us read on to learn more about the structure of a   NOUN phrase.

NOUN phrase : phrmodifiers

Words preceeding the hend noun is phrase are called premodifiers. Such words may be determines, adjective, adjective phrase or other nouns that make up the noun phrase together with the head noun.

For example:

■ MUCH money has been spent on his education.(determiner+ head noun)

■ Some rude people show no respect to thir elders.(adjective phrase+head noun)

■ School education is a must for children.(noun + head noun)

Other premodifiers in a noun phrase may  be the present participle ( -ed /-en form of the verb, used as an adjective). These precede the head noun.

For example:

■ These hanging wind chimes are from Bhutan.

■ The hounded animal finally escaped inside a cave.

Noun phrase : Postmodifiers

Words used after the head noun in a noun phrase are called postmodifion phrase or a relative clause.

For example:

■ The box full of cookies was emptied by the children

(determiner the + head noun box + adjective phrase full of cookies)

■ The animals in the zoo are regular examined by a yet.

(determiner the + head noun animals + prepositionl phrase in the zoo)

■ The boy who chimbs trees very quickly studies in my class.

(dedterminer the + hend noun boy + relative clause who climbs trees very quickly)

Other post modifiers in a noun phrase may be the present participle(-ing from of the verb, used as an adjective) and the part participle (-ed / -en form of the verb, used as an adjective). These may precede the prepositional phrase modifying the noun phrase.

For example:

 The bird singing on the tree is a cuckoo.

 Those relics excavated from the site belong to the Harappan civillsation.


Complement come immediate after the hend noun. They are usually preposition phrase or clauses.

For example:

■ Your love for the country is exemplary.

(The prepositional phrase for the county is the complement necessy for completing the completing the meaning of the hend noun love.)