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noun phrase

A phrase is a group of words that forms a unit simpler than a sentence. Unlike a sentence (or clause), a phrase normally does not contain both a subject and a finite (conjugated) verb.

A noun phrase is simply a noun (or pronoun) with its modifiers.

Examples of noun phrases

Noun phrases consist of a noun or pronoun modified by adjectives, phrases or even dependent clauses.

Noun or pronoun + adjectives

  • two old shoes [noun shoes + adjectives two and old]
  • many others [pronoun others + adjective many]

Noun or pronoun + prepositional phrase

  • trucks with rusty fenders [noun trucks + prepositional phrase with rusty fenders]
  • both of you [pronoun both + prepositional phrase of you]

Noun or pronoun + participle phrase

  • workers delivering supplies [noun workers + present participle phrase delivering supplies]
  • anyone delivering supplies [pronoun anyone + present participle phrase]
  • cars made in Canada [noun cars + past participle phrase made in Canada]
  • the ones made in Canada [pronoun ones + past participle phrase]

Noun or pronoun modified by an infinitive phrase

  • popcorn to snack on [noun popcorn + infinitive phrase to snack on]
  • something to snack on [pronoun something + infinitive phrase]

Noun or pronoun modified by a dependent clause

  • clients who want this service [noun clients + clause who want this service]
  • those who want this service [pronoun those + clause]

Note: We have said that a phrase normally does not contain a subject and verb. The exception is a phrase that contains a dependent clause as a modifier, because every clause has a subject and verb.

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