What are nouns and noun phrases, with examples, please?  

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Nouns are an open word class that name abstracts, concepts, states of being, persons, places and things. An abstraction is "honor." A concept is "ideology." A state of being is "anxious." Persons, places and things are "Tom, the clergyman, South Hampton, the train terminal, cat, shoe, hairbrush."

This class of words is open because new nouns may be added from time to time (or often) through one or more word forming processes, like through combining forms or combining parts of words as in bio-magnetic (combining form bio-) and Ebonics (combination of ebony and phonics). Nouns may also be formed through derivation, the addition of a suffix to a word from a different word class, like through adding -age to the verb equip, yielding the noun equipage. Nouns are important for their use in sentences and clauses as Subject, Object, Complement and head words of noun phrases.

A noun phrase is a group of words (or a single noun acting as its own "group") that has a noun as its most significant word--or head word. The words in a noun phrase come before or after the head noun and give descriptive detail to or defining detail about the noun. Using the noun hat, a noun phrase might be: the big, red, flower-laden, banded, wide-brimmed hat. Preceding hat are an article and an assortment of adjectives.

Words that may be expected to begin a noun phrase include--when used, used in the following order--article or possessive, quantifier (number or definite or indefinite pronoun), adjective or participle, noun modifier (a noun used to modify the head noun: "leather hat"), head word noun. The head word noun may be followed by other modifying word groups: head word noun, prepositional phrase or relative clause or participle clause.

  • article or possessive, quantifier, adjective or participle, noun modifier, head word, prepositional phrase or relative clause or participle clause.

Thus a noun phrase consists of a head word noun that may be modified by pre-modifiers and/or by post-modifiers. A noun phrase most often fills the Subject and Object slots of a sentence or clause.

sid-sarfraz's profile pic

sid-sarfraz | Student, Graduate | (Level 2) Salutatorian

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Nouns are names of people, places, animals, things, ideas and feelings. Like for example;

  • Farhan
  • Park
  • America
  • Smile
  • Movies
  • Jungle
  • Crocodile
  • Ink

Noun phrases are sentences that contain nouns and modifiers that can be pre-modifier or post modifier, while filling in the subjects and objects in the phrase. These include;

  • Articles
  • Determinants
  • Possessions
  • Numerals
  • Adjectives
  • Quantifiers

For example;

Love is a beautiful feeling.


noun= love

noun phrase = beautiful feeling

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