Noun Phrase - Explore What It Is, How to Use Them and Examples

Having learnt about phrases, you should have come across the different types of phrases. In this article, you will be introduced to what a noun phrase is, its meaning and definition, how to identify a noun phrase and how to use it in a sentence. You can also check out the examples of noun phrases given in the article to have a much deeper understanding of the same.

Table of Contents

What is a Noun Phrase? – Meaning and Definition

A noun phrase, as the term suggests, is a group of two or more words that functions like a noun when put together. Like a noun, a noun phrase can also take the place of a subject or an object. According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a noun phrase is defined as “a word or group of words in a sentence that behaves in the same way as a noun, that is, as a subject, an object, a complement, or as the object of a preposition.”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a noun phrase as “a group of words in a sentence that together behave as a noun”, and according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a noun phrase is “a phrase formed by a noun and all its modifiers and determiners” and “any syntactic element (such as a clause, clitic, pronoun, or zero element) with a noun’s function (such as the subject of a verb or the object of a verb or preposition)”.

How to Identify a Noun Phrase?

Now that you know what a noun phrase is, identifying a noun phrase in a sentence should not be difficult. There is no particular rule that a noun phrase should contain a noun. The only thing that is required is for the phrase to perform the role of a noun in the sentence. Also, keep in mind that there can be any number of noun phrases in a sentence.

Knowing the different combinations that can aid in the formation of a noun phrase can help you better. So, take a look at the following points to see the various ways in which a noun phrase can be formed.

Components of a Noun Phrase

A noun phrase can consist of,

  • A noun, a conjunction and a noun
  • A gerund and a noun
  • An article, an adjective and a noun
  • An article, a noun and a prepositional phrase
  • A determiner and a noun

The above mentioned components are not necessarily the only elements that can make up a noun phrase. An adverb used with an adjective and a noun and many other combinations can also constitute a noun phrase.

Let us see what each of these components are, in short.

  • A noun is a naming word that is used to represent a person, place, animal, thing or idea.
  • A conjunction is a short word that is used to combine two or more words, phrases or clauses.
  • An article, such as ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’ play the role of a modifier.
  • An adjective is a word that provides extra information about the noun or pronoun.
  • The term ‘gerund’ refers to words that are formed by the addition of an ‘ing’ to the root verb.
  • A prepositional phrase is a group of words that has a preposition followed by an object.
  • A determiner describes a noun and includes demonstrative adjectives such as this, that, these and those.

Examples of Sentences with Noun Phrases

Take a look at the following sentences and analyse how the noun phrases are used. See how the various components, when put together, function just like a noun.

Examples of Noun Phrases Containing a Noun, a Conjunction and a Noun

  • Rakesh and Seeta are from Chhattisgarh.
  • Music and dance interests me more than anything else does.
  • Schools and offices have been shut down due to the heavy rains.

In the above sentences, the noun phrases (marked in bold) containing a noun, a conjunction and a noun are seen to perform the role of the subject in the respective sentences.

  • We had bread and butter for breakfast.
  • My mom went to the grocery store to buy fruits and vegetables.
  • Most students find science and maths more interesting than history and geography.

In the above sentences, the noun phrases (marked in bold) containing a noun, a conjunction and a noun are seen to perform the role of the object in the respective sentences.

Examples of Noun Phrases Containing a Gerund and a Noun

  • Reading books is my favourite pastime. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • Listening to music is her hobby. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • The only thing my brother does not like to do is solving trigonometric equations. (Noun phrase used as object)

Examples of Noun Phrases Containing an Article, an Adjective and a Noun

  • The new girl became known to the whole school in just a day. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • A three-legged puppy was found at the corner of the street last week. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • My father bought my brother a smart watch for his birthday. (Noun phrase used as object)
  • We finally visited the well-known museum of arts today. (Noun phrase used as object)

Examples of Noun Phrases Containing an Article, a Noun and a Prepositional Phrase

  • The building near the bus stand was taken down in order to expand the roads. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • The hypermarket at the end of the street is being renovated. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • Did you meet the boy from London? (Noun phrase used as object)
  • Nobody seemed to know the way to the passport office. (Noun phrase used as object)

Examples of Noun Phrases Containing a Determiner and a Noun

  • These books belong to Suman. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • That building is where I live. (Noun phrase used as subject)
  • What are you going to do with those oranges? (Noun phrase used as object)
  • Are you thinking of buying this dress? (Noun phrase used as object)

Check Your Understanding of Noun Phrases

Now that you have gone through a number of examples and seen the different ways in which noun phrases are formed and used, why not check how far you have understood the same?

Try out the following exercise. Go through the sentences given below and identify the noun phrase and also state if the noun phrase is used as a subject or an object.

1. Have you ever visited Paris or Spain?

2. Teena and Anu are my cousins.

3. Did you find the two-storeyed building on the fifth street?

4. Pasta and momos seem to be my mom’s newly-found comfort food.

5. Nina helped her sister in finding the missing word in the crossword puzzle.

6. Did you find the answer to the question?

7. Those shoes are torn; I don’t think I can use them anymore.

8. Adwaith and Sonia will be moving to Germany next year.

9. Christan was not able to finish the box of chocolates.

10. Do you know who was looking for this bag?

Have you identified the noun phrases? Check the answers given below to see if you have identified them correctly.

1. Have you ever visited Paris or Spain? – Object

2. Teena and Anu are my cousins. – Subject

3. Did you find the two-storeyed building on the fifth street? – Object

4. Pasta and momos seem to be my mom’s newly-found comfort food. – Subject

5. Nina helped her sister in finding the missing word in the crossword puzzle. – Object

6. Did you find the answer to the question? – Object

7. Those shoes are torn; I don’t think I can use them anymore. – Subject

8. Adwaith and Sonia will be moving to Germany next year. – Subject

9. Christan was not able to finish the box of chocolates. – Object

10. Do you know who was looking for this bag? – Object

Frequently Asked Questions on Noun Phrases in English

What is a noun phrase?

A noun phrase, as the term suggests, is a group of two or more words that functions like a noun when put together. A noun phrase can take the place of a subject or an object.

What is the definition of a noun phrase?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a noun phrase is defined as “a word or group of words in a sentence that behaves in the same way as a noun, that is as a subject, an object, a complement, or as the object of a preposition.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines a noun phrase as “a group of words in a sentence that together behave as a noun”, and according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a noun phrase is “a phrase formed by a noun and all its modifiers and determiners” and “any syntactic element (such as a clause, clitic, pronoun, or zero element) with a noun’s function (such as the subject of a verb or the object of a verb or preposition)”.

What are the components of a noun phrase?

A noun phrase can contain multiple nouns, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositional phrases, gerunds, adverbs, adjectives, articles and determiners.

Give some examples of sentences containing noun phrases.

Given below are a few examples of sentences containing noun phrases for your

reference.

  • The building near the bus stand was taken down in order to expand the roads.
  • A three-legged puppy was found at the corner of the street last week.
  • The only thing my brother does not like to do is solving trigonometric equations.
  • Most students find science and maths more interesting than history and geography.
  • These books belong to Suman.