9

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

Phrase

The head noun

Phrase

the

old

book

this

picture

of John

every

person

there

five

very big

crates

of apples


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:

-91-

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Sentence Structure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Using This Book viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • 1 - Phrases 1
  • 2 - Word Class 11
  • 3 - Phrase Class and Word Class 19
  • 4 - More on Word Class 31
  • 5 - Where English Phrases Fit 42
  • 6 - Drawing Tree Structures for Simple Sentences 57
  • 7 - Sentences Which Are Contained in Sentences and Phrases 71
  • 8 - Coordination, Apposition and Compounds 83
  • 9 - The Many Kinds of Noun Phrase and How to Analyse Them 91
  • 10 - Reordering the Parts of a Sentence 100
  • 11 - Is There a Verb Phrase? 108
  • 12 - Linguistic Theory and Sentence Structure 112
  • Further Reading 120
  • Projects 123
  • The Main Word Classes Found in English 141
  • Tests 142
  • Index 143
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