You will understand noun phrases better after learning about the functions of nouns and noun phrases, and seeing examples of both of them.
Noun phrases are simply a noun with modifiers. Noun phrases can act as adjectives, or as participle, infinitive, prepositional, or absolute phrases.
Here are some examples for you to examine:
- Has anyone seen an old, big, brown dog?
- Let’s go on the long, winding road.
- The football coach was ecstatic.
- He gave the crying child a toy.
- She wants to be a beautiful ballerina.
- Natives were surprised by the early spring thaw.
- I consider her my favorite teacher.
Nouns and Their Functions
Nouns name things that are living and non-living, places and ideas. Since there are so many of them, they can be grouped in many different ways. Here are some general categories of nouns.
- Common nouns - refer to ordinary things, places and ideas
- Proper nouns - refer to a specific thing, place, or idea and are always capitalized, like Thomas or Star Wars
- Concrete nouns - can be experienced through your senses like table or flower
- Abstract nouns - cannot be experienced through the senses. Examples are happiness or freedom
- Countable nouns - can be counted like cars and rocks
- Uncountable noun and mass nouns - cannot be counted like air and butter
- Collective nouns - name a group of things or people, like gaggle or family.
Nouns function in sentences as subjects and objects. They can also modify by being possessive or an appositive. Sometimes, they act like an adjective, as in “water heater” where “water” modifies “heater.” They can also function as an adverb, as in “She went home” where “home” tells where she went.