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 grammar2015,

Thank you for the question, as I realise that I made a mistake with my previous answer! I always tell my students to read the example carefully, and this is advice I should also take myself! The explanation I gave about prepositional phrases was correct, and the phrase is indeed a prepositional phrase. However, in this sentence the prepositional phrase does indeed answer the question 'which one?' rather than 'where?' It tells us which students we are talking about: the ones under the tree, not other ones. Therefore, following my explanation, it has an adjectival role, not an adverbial role. It is still a prepositional phrase, however.

Thanks again for the question. If you hadn't asked then I would not have looked again at the example, and would have missed my error.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks very much for your help.

How we identify noun phrases

I don't understand why not walked in "In January last year two men walking on the peak were killed in a fall when high winds blew them off the mountain".
By the way can you tell me the different between using verb-ed and verb-ing in a noun phrase.
Thanks you

Can I to differentiate this noun phrase so the words before the verb?

Hello anaisavecas,
I'm afraid I'm not quite sure what you mean.  Can you give me a specific example of what you're trying to say, and then I'll tell you if it's OK or not and why?
The LearnEnglish Team

hi! everyone still noun phrase seem to be something difficult for me. please  am in need of help

Don't worry about it too much! Noun Phrase is just a grammar name for a single group of words around a noun. Most learners don't really need to know a lot about them. Just remember that in a sentence like:
The red car is driving fast.
The bold words are the noun phrase because they are all talking about the noun, car and is driving fast is the verb phrase because it is talking about the verb, drive.
Hope that helps!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

please I'm really in need of help , I want to find the noun phrase in this text and
, the post modifiers and pre modifiers please Help me if anyone can help me via here or through email I would be gratefully because I'm in need of some help for my home work please  this is the text please help here or email me at *************@***********
Money worries are causing millions of cash-strapped Britons to pile on the pounds, according to a new report.
The latest research suggests that growing concerns about the cost of living are causing people to turn to comfort eating when money is tight.
The Weight Watchers study reveals that three quarters of Britons are ignoring diet advice and gorging on unhealthy treats that lift their spirits in gloomy times.
As a result, the report claims that 18.3 million have put on weight because of their financial situation.
The research also reveals that people are being taken in by the temptation of attractively priced unhealthy foods - eight out of ten cash strapped Britons admit to choosing cheap food over healthy options.
The research is supported by a recent study published in Psychological Science which suggested that people turn to comfort eating at times of crisis or depression, including at times of economic hardship. Scientists at the University of Miami found that bad news about the economy could cause us to pile on the pounds because we tend to seek higher-calorie foods that will keep us satisfied for longer.
The researchers found that when people are subconsciously primed with messages such as 'live for today,' they consumed nearly 40 per cent more food.

Hello thecity906!
I'm sorry, but I can't tell you the answers. We have too many users to be able to help out with everyone's homework. Other learners might be able to help you, though!
Also, please remember our house rules ask you not to share personal information, including e-mail. This is to protect you and everyone else who uses our site.
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team