THE MANY KINDS OF NOUN PHRASE AND HOW TO ANALYSE THEM
Noun phrases are particularly likely to contain other phrases or sentences. These may modify the meaning of the noun phrase. It is possible to combine a range of different words or phrases at the beginning of a noun phrase. A noun phrase need not have a head; partitive phrases provide complex examples of headless noun phrases.In a sentence, the most complex phrase is likely to be a noun phrase. For this reason, we will devote this unit to a more detailed examination of what goes on inside a noun phrase. The noun phrases we have seen so far fit into the following general pattern:
Closed class word
The head noun
THE MODIFYING PHRASE
We begin by looking at the phrase which appears before the head, in the 'attributive' position (p. 48).
|(1) this very exciting news|
While this will often be an adjective phrase, exercise 5, unit 5 (p. 55) showed that other phrases can appear here. A phrase in attributive position is said to 'modify' the head; the result of modification can be seen by comparing (1) with the phrase in (2), where news is not modified: