Noun phrase examples

What is a noun phrase

A noun phrase is a group of words that work together to name and describe a person, place, thing, or idea. When we look at the structure of writing, we treat a noun phrase the same way we treat a common noun.

Like all nouns, a noun phrase can be a subject, object, or complement. A noun phrase plays the role of a noun. In a noun phrase, the modifiers can come before or after the noun.

According to the Wikipedia,

A noun phrase, or nominal (phrase), is a phrase that has a noun (or indefinite pronoun) as its head or performs the same grammatical function as a noun. Noun phrases are very common cross-linguistically, and they may be the most frequently occurring phrase type.

According to the Yourdictionary,

Noun phrases are groups of words that function like a noun. Typically, they act as subjects, objects, or prepositional objects in a sentence

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Noun phrase examples

1. I saw a black Zebra at the zoo

Here a Black Zebra is the noun phrase. It helps to describe more about the zebra. Instead of saying just zebra, the adjective ‘black’ used to describe it more.

2. They brightly decorated the wooden house for the holiday.

Here the Wooden house is the noun phrases. The word the wooden used to describe the house more deeply. Instead of just saying house ‘the wooden house’ added to describe it more.

Noun phrase examples
Noun phrase examples

Types of noun phrases

Noun phrases are simply nouns with modifiers. Just as nouns can act as subjects, objects, and prepositional objects, so can noun phrases. The modifier can come before or after the noun.


If it comes before the noun it’s likely to be an article, possessive noun, possessive pronoun, adjective, or participle. These parts of the noun phrase are called pre-modifiers because they go before the noun.


Determiners:        Those meals are so delicious.

Quantifiers:          She suffer from a lot of  illnesses.

Numbers:            I have two brothers.

Adjectives:         He has new cars.   


Modifiers that come after the noun include prepositional phrases, adjective clauses, participle phrases, and infinitives. These parts of the noun phrase are called post-modifiers because they go after the noun


I saw that the father working in the hot sun (prepositional)

The ability to give to others is an important character trait. (Infinitives)

Noun phrase examples
Noun phrase examples

How to identify the noun phrase in a sentence

Noun phrases are just fancy ways of talking about all the words that go with nouns.

A noun is a single word. A phrase is just a way to say more than one word, so a noun phrase is a noun with other words.

What words can go with a noun?

Jake likes apples.

Here we have a sentence with a person, (noun) as the subject and a thing, (noun) as the object. Both ‘Jake’ and ‘apples’ are single words.

Jake likes these apples.

Now we have 2 words in the object part. That qualifies as a phrase. The main word is apples, the noun, so we call it a noun phrase.

That means that all demonstratives can be part of a noun phrase, (this, that, these, those)

Jake would like an apple.

Again, 2 words, the noun is central, so it’s a noun phrase. That means that all articles, (a(n), & the) can be part of a noun phrase.

Jake would like the red apple.

3 words, the noun is central so it’s a noun phrase. That means that all adjectives , (red, happy, tall etc.) can be part of a noun phrase.

Jake would like my apple.

Again we have a noun phrase. The quantifier ‘my’ is connected to the apple, so it’s part of the noun phrase.

Quantifiers are words that tell us whether a noun is general (any, some many etc.) or specific, (my, your, both, neither) All of these words can be used in noun phrases. (**the, a, these that etc. can be lumped into this category)

My friend Jake would like my big red apple for his delicious home-made sauce.

That sentence has three noun phrases.

Just look for quantifiers and adjectives that are with the noun and you’ll have your noun phrase.


Compound nouns that kids, intermediate students must know
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