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 rastak keen,

No. You can use 'not all' or 'no', but not 'no all'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hi guys I'll pass exam in this my problem is that in the exam the professor ask us to define the function of the phrase and I really don't know how to do that help pls

Hello manal englo,

I think the best thing you can do is ask your teacher to help you with that, but if that's not possible, please give us an example and we'll do our best to help you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I found the following information at the Free Dictionary: "Don't use although or though in front of a noun phrase. Don't say, for example, 'Although his hard work, he failed his exam'. You say 'In spite of his hard work, he failed his exam' or 'Despite his hard work, he failed his exam'."
As I didn´t know what a noun phrase meant I came here for help but I got more confused when you tell me that a noun phrase can be a noun or a pronoun. If that's the case, when I am going to be able to use "although" or "though"??

Hi violeabg,

A noun or a pronoun is one word; a noun phrase can be made up of several words which together function as a subject or object in the sentence. For example:

He works very hard. ['He' is a pronoun and a noun phrase]

Doctors work very hard. ['Doctors' is a noun and a noun phrase]

The tall, middle-aged woman works very hard. ['The tall, middle-aged woman' is a noun phrase made up of a determiner, two adjectives and a noun]

As far as 'in spite of', 'although' and so on go, these linking devices are followed by different constructions. Some, such as 'despite' and 'in spite of' are followed by noun phrases. Others, such as 'although' are followed by sentences (a subject with a verb). You can find more information about this here and here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hello! i want to know if it exists a way for chat in English with people who can do that. I think it is a very good way for conversation. please correct my mistakes done here, I know there is a lot of. :)

Hello A_na,

Finding other people to chat with would be a great way to improve your English. For the sake of our users' security, however, our House Rules prohibit the sharing of the kind of personal information you would need to be able to chat. You might want to look at our Facebook page, where you may be able find a way to meet others who'd also like to do this.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

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