Grammar-QuizzesClausesClause Structure › A Noun

A Noun

Recognize how it can function in a clause

X structure diagram
jet
the private jet overhead
‹ diagram ›
► What is a noun and a noun phrase? ▼ Explanation of term

A noun:

  • expresses or names a person, animal, place, thing, substance, event, quality, action, concept, study, phenomenon, and more. A noun has lexical meaning, one or more that can be found in a dictionary.
  • functions as the "head" element, primary element of a noun phrase.
  • takes form with a number of suffixes such as -al, -ence, -tion, -ment, -ing, -ery, -ness, -ity, -ism, -ty.

A noun phrase:

  • is a word group that expresses or names a person, animal, place, thing, substance, event, quality, action, concept and more. It includes determiners and modifiers that express additional information about the noun.
  • functions as part of a sentence—the subject or object of a clause, or the complement of a preposition, or as a modifier. A noun phrase does not meet the requirements for being an independent sentence.
  • takes form as a noun (the head or primary element) and includes one or more dependents—a determiner (the, a, this, his, some) and modifiers such as adjectives, prepositional phrases or clauses.

Noun Phrase

What can come before or after a noun?

 

 

 

Determiners, Adjectives, and Modifiers

DETERMINATIVE MODIFIER NOUN NOUN COMPLEMENT

Most nouns require a determiner. Singular nouns require some kind of marker. Plural count nouns do not require but can take a determinative marker.

Optionally, a descriptive word such as an adjective or adjective phrase can be placed before the noun. An adjective phrase may also include modifiers to the adjective.

A noun serves as the "head" of the noun phrase. 

 

Optionally, a longer modifier can be placed after the noun. It may be prepositional phrase (PP), a relative clause, or a reduced clause.

DETERMINER ADJECTIVE NOUN PHRASE / CLAUSE

A

See Articles – "a"

 

jet

 

The

See Articles – "the"

private

 

jet

overhead   (P)

in front of you (PP)

with silver wings  (PP)

This / That

See Demonstratives

jumbo

60-meter long

 

jet

that is landing   (clause)

landing   (reduced clause)

 

Some / Most / All

See Quantifiers

big, private

jets

 

 

Very large

jets

that are arriving from overseas  (clause + PP)

A modifier is considered to be part of the noun phrase if it is required to identify the noun.

A noun phrase is a word group that (1) includes a head noun; (2) does not express a complete thought; (3) does not meet the requirements of being a grammatical sentence.

(Swan 384)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noun Phrase

What is the content of a noun phrase?

flight suit
 

 

Animate/Inanimate—names, titles, concepts, activities

ANIMATE (ALIVE)

A noun phrase may refer to something that is living and breathing by a variety of names such as a title, a group, a pronoun, or an agreed upon concept such as nationality.

PROPER NAMES

Captain Wagner flew the aircraft. 

(Proper Name:  Title + Name)

TITLES

The FAA Administrator licensed Captain Wagner. 

(Personal noun: title)

PRONOUNS

He passed his training, examination and test flight.

(Personal pronoun: the pilot) 

GROUP NOUNS

The class passed their examinations.

(Group: the people)

QUANTIFIED NOUNS

A hoard of people ran toward us.

(Quantified personal noun)

CONCEPTS

The Dutch train their own pilots. 

(Nationality: an agreed upon concept of borders)

 

ACTIVITIES

Piloting a 787 is his dream.

(being a pilot)

 

 

 

 

INANIMATE

A noun phrase may also refer to something inanimate such as a location name, an idea, an institution, an event, and a concept.

PROPER NAMES–LOCATION

The aircraft left San Francisco International Airport

(Location: Official Name)

TITLES

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensed Captain Wagner. 

(Institution: official name)

PRONOUNS

The Administrators approved it. 

(Impersonal pronoun: the route)

COLLECTIVE NOUNS

Aviation attracts new pilots.

(Collective noun: the field)

QUANTIFIED NOUNS

Five per cent of the fleet of aircraft needs replacement.

(Quantified noun: limited amount)

CONCEPTS

Flight has been a dream for centuries.

(Concept)

ACTIVITIES / EVENTS

Free flying is his dream. The National Freeflying Competition is next week.

(wearing a flight suit)

TIME

Today is a great day. / This morning is a clear. 

(Temporal nounsafternoon, evening, mid-day, morning, yesterday, today, tomorrow, tonight, instant, minute, second, day, week, month, season, year, decade, century, moment)

PLACE

Here is a landing strip. / Outside is the stairway. 

(Locational nounsahead, away, upstairs, downhill, room, house, home, hospital, building, city, district, community, department, town, township, burgh, shire, divisision, duchy, county, area, province, kingdom, principality, state, country, empire, North, East, West, South, territory, region, continent, world, etc. 

 

license (Eng-US)  licence (Eng-Br)

Most temporal nouns require a determiner, but not today, tonight  ("this day", "this night") tomorrow ("the next day") yesterday ("day before this day")

Most locational nouns accept a determiner, but not home ("He was at home."), hospital ("He was in hospital.") [Eng-Br] or proper nouns such as Athens, Paris, Sydney, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noun Phrase

How does a noun phrase function?

 

 

 

 As the subject or object of a clause

SUBJECT NOUN PHRASE

A noun phrase can function as the subject of a clause.

SUBJECT PREDICATE OBJECT
NP V NP

The silver jet

 approached

the runway

OBJECT NOUN PHRASE

Or it can function as the object of the clause or of a prepositional phrase.

SUBJECT PREDICATE OBJECT
NP V NP

The silver jet 

 approached

the runway

 

 

 

As the object of a prepositional phrase

PREP PHRASE THAT MODIFIES SUBJECT

A noun or a pronoun can serve as the object of a prepositional phrase that modifies the subject noun.

SUBJECT PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE
NP P + P NP

The jet 

 next to

us 

PREP PHRASE THAT MODIFIES PREDICATE

A noun phrase can also function as the object of a prepositional phrase that is a predicate complement.

PREDICATE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE
V P OBJECT–NP

landed

 

on

at

the runway

noon

 

Word Categories: N – Noun; V – Verb; Aux – Auxiliary; Adj – Adjective; Adv – Adverb; P –Preposition; Det –Determiner.

Phrasal Categories: NP – Noun Phrase; VP – Verb Phrase; AdjP – Adjective Phrase; AdvP – Adverb Phrase; PP – Prepositional Phrase; DP – Determinative Phrase.

Clausal Categories: Cls – clause; F – finite clause; NF – nonfinite clause (Ger – gerund; Inf – infinitive; PPart – past participle).

Word Functions: Subj – subject; Pred – predicate/predicator; Compcomplement: elements required by an expression to complete its meaning (DO – direct object; IO – indirect object);  Adjunctadjunct: elements not required by an expression to complete its meaning (Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator); Suplsupplement: a clause or phrase added onto a clause that is not closely related to the central thought or structure of the main clause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noun

Properties (functions or uses)

 

 

A Noun

The following are basic properties that members of the category Noun share. Nouns can function in other ways as well.

1) FUNCTIONS AS SUBJECT OR OBJECT 2) INFLECTS FOR NUMBER, PLURALIZES 3) TAKES A DETERMINER

Noun is a distinct category of words that name such things as persons, places and things but also concepts, fields of studies, language and much more.  A noun can function as a subject or an object. 

Some nouns can form plurals (count nouns). Others (noncount nouns) do not form plurals. Some nouns only occur in singular form; others only occur in plural form.

All singular nouns require some kind of marker.  A noun phrase with a marker is called a determined noun phrase. Plural count nouns do not require but can take a determinative marker. 

Jets fly high.  (subject)

 

jet / jets (count noun)

A jet is overhead.

Pilots fly a jets. (object)

fuel (noncount noun)

The fuel is expensive.

People inside of jets. (object of preposition)

scissors (plural in form)

series (word form ends in s)

Some jets are overhead.

 

people, police (singular in form)

aircraft, sheep, fish (singular is same as plural form)

Those jets are overhead again.

Such jets are expensive.

 

4) AGREES WITH THE VERB 5) ACCEPTS AN AJECTIVE 6) ACCEPTS A  PREP PHRASE

A noun is singular or plural in agreement with the verb.

A noun accepts an adjective before it.

A noun accepts a prepositional phrase after it. 

A jet flies high.  (singular)

Jets fly high.  (plural)

A large jet landed. 

A jet in the sky appears tiny.

Fuel is expensive.  (singular)

We saw a jumbo jet land.

We saw a jet with blue stripes.

property (N) — an essential or distinctive attribute or quality of a thing

Also see Noun, Verb, Gerund, Participle Properties | Nouns as ModifiersNoun Forms Ending in -ing  (difference between gerund and noun)

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Luxury Aircraft

jet interior
 

 

Read Context

A private jet offers luxury services to travelers who can afford it. A variety of comforts and special features are on board. The well-designed interiors have comfortable seats, work tables, and Internet access. The wide aisles leave enough space to walk around. Some private jet services include a chef. Gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners are prepared in the galley of the aircraft.

Tired passengers can nap in their seats or they can sleep in one of the on-board bedrooms. A relaxing shower in the spa will allow a passenger to arrive fresh and ready to greet people. Such conveniences are the result of new technology and creative thinking. In so many ways, luxury jets are like flying luxury hotels.

"First Class Cabin Features." Emirates. 2014. Web. 27 July 2014. <emirates.com>.

GLOSSARY

access – something that is easy to get to or to have

aircraft – general term for all planes, jets, helicopters, drones

afford – have enough money to pay for something

aisles – walkways

chef – a professional cook

comfort – something that is comfortable, soothes or relieves

convenience – anything that saves or simplifies work, adds to one's ease or comfort

creative – new, imaginative, inventive, innovative

 

design – arrangement of furniture, the floor plan, and the selection of materials

gallery — a kitchen aboard a ship or aircraft

greet — welcome, say hello

gourmet – being of high-quality (food and preparation)

interior – inside area

on-board – inside the airplane (a term used with ships, aircraft and buses)

variety – different kinds

 

 

 

Identify the "head noun" in the subject noun phrase.

  1. Select the word. (The head noun is the main or primary noun in the noun phrase.)
  2. Read the feedback box to check your answer, or click the "Check 1-5" button at the bottom.

 

1.
A private jet offers luxury services to travelers who can afford it.
[Identify the head noun in the subject noun phrase only.]





2.
A variety of comforts and special features are on board.








3.
The well-designed interiors have comfortable seats, work tables, and internet access. 








4.
The wide aisles leave enough space to walk around.






5.
Some private jet services include a chef.   








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Luxury Flight II

 

 

 

Select all the words in the subject-noun phrase. 

  1. Select the words (more than one)
  2. Read the feedback box to check your answer, or click the "Check 1-5" button at the bottom.

 

6.
Gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners are prepared in the galley of the aircraft.
[Select the words in the subject noun phrase(s).]












7.
Tired passengers can nap in their seats or they can sleep in one of the on-board bedrooms.
[Select the words in the subject noun phrase(s).]












8.
A relaxing shower in the spa will allow a passenger to arrive fresh and ready to greet people.
[Select the words in the subject noun phrase(s).]












9.
Such conveniences are the result of new technology and creative thinking.
[Select the words in the subject noun phrase(s).]












10.
In so many ways, luxury jets are like flying luxury hotels.
[Select the words in the subject noun phrase(s).]