How can I write a short essay on nouns and noun phrases?I must write a comprehensive note to clear every aspect of the topic.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If this is to be a "cut and dry" assignment, it seems rather challenging, to say the least, as there is not enough factual information with which one can compose an entire essay.  However, if there can be some light-hearted humor added, a creative piece can both entertain and inform the reader.  For instance, the writer can propose that the reader consider how difficult his/her world would be without nouns, the names that people assign to persons, places, things, or abstract concepts. Why, one would constantly have to use descriptives to describe a particular person or thing.  So, instead of writing "my friend," for example, a person must say something like this: "I and my laughing, going, and doing, caring, and sharing." Communication would become nonsensical, of course.

It is, therefore, imperative that people be able to name that which they speak or write about in their lives. Nouns, a word derived from the Latin word meaning "name," specifically indicate concrete objects, people, or places, as well as abstract ideas and qualities. In explaining nouns, then, the writer may provide examples of each type of noun.

  • A noun phrase consists of a main noun and its determiners and modifiers. These noun phrases are employed as subjects, objects, and complements, that is, subject complements (also termed predicate nominatives). For example,

The severe winds broke many tree limbs. [subject and direct object]

My father is an organic farmer. [subject and subject complement, or predicate nominative]

His farm is on many acres. [subject, complement of subject (linking verb be/is), and object of the preposition on.]

The determiners a, an, this, and that are used with singular nouns. Other determiners, such as some, few, these, and those are used with plural nouns.

Modifiers are limiting and descriptive adjectives.

  •  Verbals , or verb forms, can also be used as nouns. And because of their origin as verbs, verbals in phrases often have their own objects and modifiers.  Such verbals are infinitive phrases, participial phrases, and gerund phrases.

To succeed, one must study hard. [Infinitive phrase as a object.]

Riding a horse was her goal  [gerund phrase as a subject. Gerunds are the -ing verb form that function as a noun, usually serving as the subject or object]

Planning her trips carefully, Janie decided to travel with a  companion. [Participial phrase as a subject. Participles are the -ing form that function as verbals.]