noun phrase


Noun Phrases

Often a noun phrase is just a noun or a pronoun:

People like to have money.
I am tired.
It is getting late.

or a determiner and a noun …:

Our friends have bought a house in the village.
Those houses are very expensive.

… perhaps with an adjective:

Our closest friends have just bought a new house in the village.

Sometimes the noun phrase begins with a quantifier:

All those children go to school here.
Both of my younger brothers are married
Some people spend a lot of money.


Quantifiers come before determiners, but numbers come after determiners:

My four children go to school here. (All my children go to school here.)
Those two suitcases are mine. (Both those suitcases are mine)

So the noun phrase is built up in this way:

Noun: people; money
Determiner + noun: the village, a house, our friends; those houses
Quantifier + noun: some people; a lot of money
Determiner + adjective + noun: our closest friends; a new house.
Quantifier + determiner + noun: all those children;
Quantifier + determiner + adjective + noun: both of my younger brothers

The noun phrase can be quite complicated:

a loaf of nice fresh brown bread
the eight-year-old boy who attempted to rob a sweet shop with a pistol
that attractive young woman in the blue dress sitting over there in the corner

Match noun phrases to patterns

Some words and phrases come after the noun. These are called postmodifiers. A noun phrase can be postmodified in several ways. Here are some examples:

• with a prepositional phrase:

a man with a gun
the boy in the blue shirt
the house on the corner

• with an –ing phrase:

the man standing over there
the boy talking to Angela

• with a relative clause:

the man we met yesterday
the house that Jack built
the woman who discovered radium
an eight-year-old boy who attempted to rob a sweet shop

• with a that clause.
This is very common with reporting or summarising nouns like idea, fact, belief, suggestion:

He’s still very fit, in spite of the fact that he’s over eighty.
She got the idea that people didn’t like her.
There was a suggestion that the children should be sent home.

• with a to-infinitive.
This is very common after indefinite pronouns and adverbs:

You should take something to read.
I need somewhere to sleep.
I’ve got no decent shoes to wear.

There may be more than one postmodifier:

an eight-year old boy with a gun who tried to rob a sweet shop
that girl over there in a green dress drinking a coke


Match types of postmodifiers to phrases


There are four complex noun phrases in this section:

The accident happened at around 3pm on Wednesday. A man climbing nearby who saw the accident said “It was the most amazing rescue I have ever seen.” 42-year-old Joe Candler saw Miss Johnson’s fall along with his partner Fay Hamilton.

The rescue is the latest in a series of incidents on High Peak. In January last year two men walking on the peak were killed in a fall when high winds blew them off the mountain.



Hello every one:

I have one question
What is the differences between object complement and object postmodifier
( i mean noun postmodifier when it modifiers the object)

Hello nkmg,

On LearnEnglish we try to provide help for language learners with language usage rather than linguistics and the definitions of linguistic terms, so your question is really outside of our area of focus.

Object complements are only used after certain verbs (see above on this page). Object complements follow a direct object, and add some meaning which is usually a change in the direct object's role, status or being. Postmodifiers add interesting information, but are not needed to complete the meaning range of the verb. These are very subtle concepts and more detail you can look here, for example.

I hope that helps to clarify the issue for you.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


can you tell me the difference of wanna and want to, because I had mad "wanna" in writing exercise and I get wrong...

Hello Andri Riza Othman,

The correct/standard form is 'want to'. 'Wanna' is a non-standard form which reflects the way 'want to' is pronounced. It is quite common in informal writing and in songs, for example, but is not the correct way to spell this.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, can you tell me when we use "talk to" and "talk with", I find it a little bit confusing.

Hi lisa-chriki,

In most contexts there is no difference and either can be used. In some contexts there may be a small difference in that the phrase 'talk with' can imply a conversation between people, whereas 'talk to' may be a less equal conversation, where one person is informing another about something.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk

Thank you for your help.I tried to clarify to Gako why we used in the sentence he mentioned the continuous tense "walking" and not the simple past "walked" Hope I am right.

In January last year two men walking on the peak were killed in a fall when high winds blew them off the mountain".I think we would rather say:In January last year two men, who were walking on the peak, were killed in a fall ..
..., and because the incident happened while they were walking, that is why the continuous tense was used instead of the simple past tense. Hope I am right

Hello lisa-chriki,

'two men walking on the peak' is a reduced relative clause, i.e. a reduced form of 'two men who were walking on the peak'. And yes, a continuous verb form indicates an action that was in progress.

I'm not sure if I've answered your question – if not, please ask us again!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team