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English noun phrase: Wikis


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In English grammar, a noun phrase has three components:

1. The head
is the hub, the center of attraction (as it were) of the noun phrase; it is the noun or pronoun around which the other parts gather together.[1] The head determines concord with the portion of the sentence outside the noun phrase.[1] Thus:
  1. The change in the Asian economies is unprecedented.
  2. The changes in Japan's economy are most unexpected.
2. Premodification
consists of all the words place before the head. These words are usually determiners, adjectives and nouns.[2] Thus:
  1. That sophisticated city woman ("That" (determiner), "sophisticated" (adjective), "city" (noun); woman (head))
  2. Many honest down and out small-town businessmen ("Many" (determiner), "honest" (adjective), "down and out" (adjective phrase), "small-town" (noun); businessmen (head))
3. Postmodification
comprises words in the noun phrase that follow the head. These words usually consist of prepositional phrases, nonfinite clauses, and relative clauses.[2] Thus:
  1. The talkative man in the center of the room ... (prepositional phrase)
  2. All the women walking on the bike path ... (non-finite clause)
  3. The house that I purchased for my third husband ... (restrictive relative clause)
  4. The house, which my partner and I bought a month after we met, ... (non-restrictive relative clause)

There can also be adjectival post-modification:

  1. Corruption aplenty ("aplenty" (adjective); corruption (head)). Thus: Corruption aplenty, in every unsurprising form, graced the occasion.
4. Apposition
A related concept is apposition, a construction usually involving two noun phrases that refer to the same entity (noun or pronoun).[2] Examples:
  1. That president, Abraham Lincoln, lives in the hearts ...
  2. Her dog, sixteen years old and nearly blind with cataract, greeted ...
  3. The book was written by Jane Doe, a pioneering seventeenth century veterinarian.

Although these examples are non-restrictive, apposition can be restrictive as well:[2]

  1. The book is written by Jane Doe the local veterinarian.

Apposition can also take the form of a prepositional phrase:[2]

  1. ... until the twin curses of famine and pestilence are lifted from the brows of mankind. (The "twin curses" are "famine and pestilence").


See also



  • Biber, Douglas; Johansson, Stig; Leech, Geoffrey; Conrad, Susan; Finegan, Edward (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English. ISBN 0582237254.  
  • Carter, Ronald; McCarthy, Michael (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English: A Comprehensive Guide. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 984. ISBN 0521674395.  
  • Chalker, Sylvia; Weiner, Edmund, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. Oxford University Press. Pp. 464. ISBN 0192800876.  
  • Greenbaum, Sidney (1996). Oxford English Grammar. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 672. ISBN 0198612508.  
  • Greenbaum, Sidney; Quirk, Randolph (1990). A Student's Grammar of the English Language. Addison Wesley Publishing Company. Pp. 496. ISBN 0582059712.  
  • Halliday, M. A. K.; (Revised by) Matthiessen, Christian M. I. M. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, 3rd. edition. London: Hodder Arnold. Pp. 700. ISBN 0340761679.  
  • Huddleston, Rodney D. (1984). Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D. (1988). English grammar: An outline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D.; Pullum, Geoffrey K., eds (2002). The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 1860. ISBN 0521431468.  
  • Huddleston, Rodney D.; Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2005). A student's introduction to English grammar. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 320. ISBN 0521612888.  
  • Jespersen, Otto. (1909-1949). A modern English grammar on historical principles (Vols. 1-7). Heidelberg: C. Winter.
  • Jesperson, Otto (1933). Essentials of English Grammar: 25th impression, 1987. London: Routledge. Pp. 400. ISBN 0415104408.  
  • Koln, Martha J. (2006). Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects, 5th edition. Longman. Pp. 336. ISBN 0321397231.  
  • Koln, Martha J.; Funk, Robert W. (2008). Understanding English Grammar (8th Edition). Longman. Pp. 453. ISBN 0205626904.  
  • Morenberg, Max (2002). Doing Grammar, 3rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 352. ISBN 0195138406.  
  • Quirk, Randolph; Greenbaum, Sidney; Leech, Geoffrey; Svartvik, Jan (1985). A comprehensive grammar of the English language. Harlow: Longman. Pp. 1779. ISBN 0582517346.  

External references



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