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The Noun Phrase (NP)

The Noun Phrase (NP)

The Noun phrase functional formula has three parts:
The Functional formula:
(Premodifier*) - Head - (Postmodifier*)(* asterisks denote elements that may appear more than once.)

The NP formula states that a noun phrase must contain a headword but need not contain anything else. If the NP has more elements than the head, it may contain one or more premodifiers (which precede the head) and/or one or more postmodifiers (which follow the head). The formula thus abbreviates several possibilities:
Head
Premodifier(s) + Head
Head + Postmodifier(s)
Premodifier(s) + Head + Postmodifier(s)


A. Simple Noun phrases: Head alone

1. Single-Word Noun Phrases
Single word noun phrases will always consist of a headword which is a noun or pronoun.
eg :
Noun ex : Wombats are playful
Wh-word ex: Who pay the bill?

2 . Simple Noun phrases: Premodifier + Head

Simple NPs can also contain a head preceded by a single-word premodifier. .

Simple Premodifiers

Article The wombats // escaped.
Demonstrative pronoun That vase // is valuable.
Possessive pronoun Her serve // is powerful.
Indefinite pronoun Some survivors // remained
Wh-word Which lobster // do you want?
Numeral Seven boxes // fell.
Ordinal Second thoughts // entered our mind.
Noun (phrase) metal plates // shielded the instruments.

3 . Simple Noun phrases: Head + Postmodifier (Prepositional Phrase)

Most of the simple premodifiers above contain one word. The least complex postmodifier - and by far the most common - is a prepositional phrase (PP). This simple postmodification will have the structure N = PP;

Songs about love
Clock on the wall
Walks with my mother
Arguments about abortion
Reasons for my hesistation
Sources of concern

4 . Multiple and phrasal premodifiers

Our examples so far have provided only single-word premodifiers. In fact, premodifiers can be multiple:

Multiple Premodifier

The two culprits : article + numeral
Those metal plates : demonstrative + N
Several other candidates : two indefinites
One such oddity : numeral + indefinite
A second chance : article + ordinal

Phrasal Premodifiers

My friend's hobby // is knitting. Genitive NP
Very old memories // return easily. AP
Carelessly organized meetings // annoy everyone. Verbal phrase

B. Complex Noun Phrase

1 Complex Noun Phrases: Complex Postmodifiers

Adjective Phrase :ex Anyone fond of kumquats should buy this recipe book.

Appositive NP : ex His nominee, an infamous scoundrel, is unlikely to be elected.

Verbal Phrase :ex The contestant guessing the title will win a vacation in Tahiti.

Relative Clause: ex The contestant who guesses the title will win a trip to Tahiti.

Noun Complement Clause : ex The realization [that his hair was false] amused the audience.

Appositive Noun Phrases :ex His nominee, an infamous scoundrel with principles learned from years of service in one of the most corrupt political machines ever devised by the devious minds that have blemished history, is unlikely to be elected.

2 Complex Noun Phrases: Coordination
It is possible to repeat NPs twice, thice, …even an infinite number of times. Coordinated NPs will be joined by a coordinate conjunction, usually and or or, as in:

Old men and women will be served first.
My sister and her best friend will deliver the letter.
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