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Nouns and noun phrases Did you see what happened to this noun?

My sporty red car with a sunroof

Its just been expanded!!!

Nouns and noun phrases Lets see that again. The mysterious woman in black

The original single word woman

has been expanded,


and this gives us more information.

Nouns and noun phrases The term noun phrase refers to a group of words which act like a noun. Words can go before the noun e.g. The great river and/or after the noun.

e.g man of honour


They modify the meaning of the noun.

Nouns and noun phrases Nouns often have other words in front of them. Determiners e.g. a, the, that, my, your, Adjectives e.g. little, blue, silly Verbs e.g. a buzzing bee Nouns, acting like adjectives e.g. the lemonade bottle

Nouns and noun phrases Choose one of the nouns below. Make a list of words that will expand the noun when you put them before the noun. tree music fire telephone book

Nouns and noun phrases

Words which go after a noun can modify it too, e.g. the kiss of death
See if you can spot any in this passage.

The girl with red hair was afraid of flying. She was determined to overcome this fear. Her aunt in America had invited her to stay and she wanted to go. Fears like this can be overcome, she decided. Did you spot these?

Nouns and noun phrases Noun phrases can help to enrich writing. Look at the following passage. The nouns have been highlighted. See if you can modify them and improve the passage.

The teacher raised his eyes and looked at the class. He held up the paper.
Which student has done this work?

Its mine, said a voice.


Come and get the reward, said the teacher.

Nouns and noun phrases Now read two other versions. As you read them, discuss the differences, the effects of the noun phrases and how they compare to your version.
The demon-like teacher raised his blood-shot eyes and looked at the class of terrified children. He held up the crumpled and torn paper. Which miserable student has done this so-called work? Its mine, said a tiny trembling voice. Come and get the reward you deserve, said the teacher with malice in his voice.

Nouns and noun phrases The laughing teacher raised his watery eyes and looked at the puzzled class. He held up the paper hed been reading. Which quick-witted student has done this hilarious work on My Life as a Whoopee Cushion? Its mine, said a voice from under a table.

Come and get the reward for the funniest story this year, said the teacher through his giggles.

Nouns and noun phrases


The tall, imposing and really rather massive monument was made from cool white marble with lots of little, itsy-bitsy, infinitesimal flecks of emerald green running all the way through it. The girl gasped as she looked up at the absolutely huge, thick, chunky pillars, utterly and thoroughly amazed by its simplicity.

As you can see, noun phrases and how you construct them, are important aspects of writing. You need to know when enough is enough too.

Read the following passage. Discuss how The description contains they could be improved. too many adjectives.

Nouns and noun phrases


The tall, imposing monument was made from cool white marble with little flecks of emerald green running through it. The girl gasped as she looked up at the thick pillars, amazed by its simplicity.

Now read another version and discuss why it might be more effective.

Sometimes less is more.

Be aware of noun phrases in your own writing and also in the writing of others.