How do you call the feature/type/state of a noun which has been made "actual/real" with a determiner etc. as opposed to without it:

Car [in the dictionary]
A/the/my/this... car.

I read "substantif actualisé/non actualisé" (word for word "actualized substantive", "non actualized substantive") in French and I'm looking for the equivalent.

  • 1
    Good question. Is there such a thing? And is it actually real? How can one tell? Feb 20, 2023 at 22:21
  • Wikipedia calls them determiner phrases, although the second sentence of the article starts with the word "Controversially" so I'm not sure how widespread this is (it seems to be a generative grammar thing).
    – Stuart F
    Feb 20, 2023 at 22:41
  • @StuartF "Phrased" noun as opposed to just a noun? "Determined" noun? In the source, this is not something new at all like the generative stuff. Lexical as opposed to? I'm no expert. I can see this concept in some academic papers, not just for nouns but for adjectives too, and sometimes in a collocation such as "actualisé mais pas réalisé" with things which have "actualisateur" capacity etc. Maybe just phrase vs. noun? Feb 20, 2023 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


In the terminology of Huddleston & Pullum (2002), "a car" is a noun phrase, within which "car" is a nominal.

  • But wouldn't "car" still be a nominal even without a determiner? (E.g.: "When car meets pedestrian, the former usually wins.") In that case, the term "nominal" wouldn't distinguish the determined nominal from the non-determined nominal. OP seems to want the term for the determined nominal "as opposed to without it". Feb 21, 2023 at 4:34
  • 1
    In still other terminology, a car is a DP, or Determiner Phrase. I spose car by itself is a Dʹ (pronounced "D-bar"), but I'm not sure because I rarely bother to name intermediate nodes in a derivation. Feb 21, 2023 at 16:08

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