Grammar-QuizzesNoun Phrases

Noun Phrases

Recognize function and form

► What is a noun phrase? ▼ Explanation of term

A noun phrase:

  • expresses or names a person, animal, place, thing, substance, event, quality, action, concept and more. A noun phrase includes determiners and modifiers that specifically add information about the noun.
  • functions as the subject or object of a clause or as the complement of a preposition.
  • takes form as a noun (the head or primary element) and may include dependents—a determiner (the, a, this, his, some) and modifiers such as adjectives or prepositional phrases or clauses.

See A Noun for uses in a clause.


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Noun Phrases

A Noun/Noun Phrase: recognize how it functions in a clause

Beginning – Advanced ESL, native speakers

A private jet

jet  (N)

A private jet (NP)

Four single-engine Cessnas (NP)



Noun Phrases—in the form of wh- phrases


What Phrases: package content for emphasis (noun phrases)

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers


What he said  was funny.  (that + which he said)

What was funny  was his expression


Cleft Clauses:  reposition content to another part of a sentence by using it or what

Advanced ESL, Native Speaker


His energy amazed me

What amazed me was his energy.

His energy was what amazed me.

It amazed me that he had so much energy.

Noun Phrases—in the form of wh-ever phrases

Wh-ever Phrases: refer to any one  (noun phrases)

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers


Whatever you say is confidential. (NP)

You can take whomever you want.

Whatever way will be fine.