Noun modifiers

Learn how to use nouns to say more about other nouns, and do the exercises to practise using them.

Level: beginner

We often use two nouns together to show that one thing is a part of something else:

the village church
the car door
the kitchen window
the chair leg
my coat pocket

London residents

In these examples, the first noun is called a noun modifier.

Be careful!

We do not use a possessive form for these things. We do NOT talk about:

the car's door
the kitchen's window
the chair's leg

We can use noun modifiers to show what something is made of:

a gold watch
a leather purse
a metal box

We often use noun modifiers with nouns ending in –er

an office worker
a jewellery maker
a potato peeler

We use measurements, age or value as noun modifiers:

a thirty-kilogram suitcase
a two-minute rest
a five-thousand-euro platinum watch
a fifty-kilometre journey

We often use nouns ending in -ing as noun modifiers:

a shopping list     
a swimming lesson     
a walking holiday     
a washing machine

We often put two nouns together and readers/listeners have to work out what they mean:

an ice bucket
(= a bucket to keep ice in)

an ice cube
(= a cube made of ice)

an ice breaker
(= a ship which breaks ice)

the ice age
(= the time when much of the Earth was covered in ice)

Sometimes we find more than two nouns together:

London office workers
grammar practice exercises

Noun modifiers come after adjectives:

the old newspaper seller     
a tiring fifty-kilometre journey

Noun modifiers 1


Noun modifiers 2


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