Grammar-QuizzesNoun Phrases › Modifiers to Nouns

Modifiers to Nouns

Recognize function and form

X structure diagram
leaf fall
the colorful leaves on the ground
‹ diagram ›
► What is a modifier? ▼ Explanation of term

A modifier to a noun:

  • expresses a dictionary meaning, a particular meaning about — size, shape, color, worth, age, origin, time, source or other identifying (limiting) information.
  • functions as a word or phrase that adds information about a noun, and is included with the noun in the  noun phrase.
  • takes form as (1) a word placed before the noun such as a determiner (Det), an adjective (Adj), a participle, a noun (N) ; or (2) as a structure placed after the noun such as a prepositional phrase (PP) or a relative clause (Cls). The noun and its modifiers together form a noun phrase (NP).


Other words that modify are related to the predicate: (1) "situational adverbs" that add detail information about the action—manner, frequency, degree and so on; and (2) "stance adverbs" that add opinion or information about the circumstances under which something is being said.

Modifiers to Nouns

Summary of Practices




Adj / Modifier Diagnostic: identify specific English grammar points that need review:

persian cat

Quiz 1: beginning–intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate–advanced

Adjective Summary

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Red leaves are falling.  (attributive Adj)

We saw something red. (post-position!)

The show was awesome / awful.   (suffixes)

The sky is /seems /appears blue.

We were happy about the leaf fall. (Adj +P)

The wind pushed the door open.

It was extremely windy.

Noun Modifiers: modify a noun with a noun 

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

office chair

Its a chair for an office.

It's an office chair (singular)

It is a sports car (a rare plural modifier)

Number Modifiers: combine a numbers and nouns as a modifier

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


The ladder had five steps.

It was a five-step ladder.

There are a million uses for WD-40(spelled out)

Participle Summary ›

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 clown juggling

The entertaining act was free. 

The entertained audience clapped enthusiastically.

We heard the sound of breaking dishes.

The broken dishes lay on the ground.

The clown entertaining us was hilarious.

The audience silenced by the announcer watched intently.


Modifiers to Adj: indicate how much or what degree of modification

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


The basketball player is nine feet tall. (plural)

He can place a ball in a basket ball hoop ten feet high.

He sleeps in a bed that is nine and a half feet long.

He is extremely tall.

How / What: emphasize opinion with an exclamation (!)

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


How beautiful! 

How beautiful a creature

How beautiful it is! 

How gracefully it swims! 

What a creatureremarkably beautiful or ugly

What a beautiful creature!

*What an awful creature stung me!


*not used

Noun + Prep Phrase: add modifying information before or after a noun

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

House sandwiched between other houses

The house next door belongs to my cousin.

Our next-door neighbor is on vacation.

The man on the street was shouting

The on the street man was shouting.

Misrelated Clause: improve the positioning of modifying clauses

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

heart in the trash

*Being a guy, it is hard for him to understand her point of view.

Being a guy, he has a hard time understanding her point of view.