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Questions tagged [noun-phrases]

Phrases which, as a unit, act as a noun; and whose heads are nouns or pronouns. English noun phrases can include (among many other possibilities) articles or determiners such as "the" and "a" and one or more adjectives or other nouns used attributively followed by the head noun itself.

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What is the rule for adjective order?

I remember being taught that the correct order of adjectives in English was something along the lines of "Opinion-Size-Age-Color-Material-Purpose." However, it's been a long time and I'm pretty sure ...
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“My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner”

I just stumbled upon a Reddit post titled: My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner. How does it look? Sure enough, the top comment immediately points out that it should be "my wife's and my". ...
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Why is it that in English we put the colour before the object but in many other European languages they put the colour after the object?

I have noticed that in English we put the colour before the object. For instance we, would say White House but in Spanish it would be Casa Blanca (House White) or in French they would say for ...
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“This box of matches is empty”

There are several Japanese books teaching Japanese students how to write in English. I found this example in 『英作文参考書の誤りを正す』 (Correcting Errors in English Composition Manuals) by Michio Kawakami and J....
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a [box [of apples] ] vs [a box] [of apples]

The standard linguistic analysis of the NP a box of apples is that we have a determiner (a) which acts on (modifies?) box of apples. (For an example of standard analysis, see e.g. Fig. 6 here). ...
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Why are “colleagues” becoming “work colleagues”?

I've noticed over the last few years that people who were formerly my colleagues have become my work colleagues. Does anyone know why this should be so? (Perhaps I should also mention that the ...
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Can predicative complements not be bare noun phrases in English? That is, are clauses such as “I am student” incorrect?

In Chapter 4 of the book A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar, written by Rodney Huddleston of the University of Queensland and Geoffrey K. Pullum of the University of Edinburgh and published ...
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When can a noun be used attributively?

Nouns can modify nouns: cat food, coffee cup, gold ring, laser surgery, flood insurance. It seems to me there are even cases where a noun sounds better than the corresponding adjective: sociology ...
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When are attributive nouns plural?

Sorry for the title, it is not very evident and intuitive but I really do not how to tell it better... Well, you know, several times, or better, many times, we use this form: If I want to say: "...
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Is “my hardest” a direct object in “I will try my hardest”?

I will try my hardest. I am confusing myself by trying to figure out the grammatical relations in this sentence. It is not clear to me whether my hardest is a direct object here. If it is not, what ...
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*all of us's friend

There's this funny gap I tried to write a paper once upon a time when I studied linguistics, and I'd like to know if anyone has insight into it. The construction in question is the possessive ...
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“I wish for a rest now”: what does “now” modify?

Consider this sentence: I am truly amazed by my success at this diagramming business, but I wish for a rest now. I think that the adverb "now" modifies "rest". But according to the answer page, I'...
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Why is this sentence: “Additional nine features were added…” incorrect?

I am trying to explain to a colleague why the sentence: Additional nine features were added to the dig is incorrect. I have said you can say "An additional nine features...", "Nine additional ...
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Similar adjectives to “worth”

This laptop is worth $140. Here worth does not need a following preposition. However, when I say, for example: I am curious about his motivation behind his decision. The word curious is an ...
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Why is “I see a few trees” correct but “I see a many trees” not?

Why is "I see a few trees" grammatically correct but "I see a many trees" not? I notice that "I see few trees" and "I see many trees" are both grammatically correct, since "few" and "many" are both ...
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2answers
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How to determine if a pre-head dependent of a noun is a complement or a modifier

These examples are from CGEL*. a linguistics student a first-year student CGEL says 'linguistics' is a complement of the noun 'student', whereas 'first-year' is a modifier of the noun '...
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“In person” equivalent for inanimate objects

This is much easier to explain by example. So you might hear someone say this photo of her is ok, but she looks much better in person. I am looking for the equivalent of "in person" that applies to ...
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1answer
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Can an adverb modify a noun?

Is it right to say: the scientifically literate? The reason I ask is that "The literate" is a noun. And the adverb scientifically modifies it. But as far as I know, adverbs cannot modifies noun. ...
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If a noun phrase is made of two noun-like words that conjugate differently, then which conjugation do you use? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Neither Michael nor Albert is correct” or “Neither Michael nor Albert are correct”? Is “either you or [third-person]” followed by a ...
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1answer
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What is the head noun in a noun 'and' noun phrase?

In a phrase like 'each has a different style and attitude' which is the head noun? Is it right that the head noun can only ever be one word, so I couldn't say it was 'style and attitude'?
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“He was neither seer nor prophet” How would you explain the absence of an article?

Here's a fragment from Jack London's Star Rover: Wordsworth knew. He was neither seer nor prophet, but just ordinary man like you or any man. What he knew you know, any man knows. But he most aptly ...
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What is the grammatical function of the NP (or clause?) in this sentence?

I just came across this sentence in a newspaper: The mill ceased production in 1982, an early warning of another revolution on a global scale. I know it is a perfectly grammatical sentence and I'...
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Can a noun be an adverb? [duplicate]

This question, which I first posed on the ELL site a few weeks ago, remains effectively unanswered. Although there an answer did finally get posted, it seemed to be more of a parody of an answer than ...
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Is there a word or a special phrase in English to describe the curvy upper lip that some people like Rio Ferdinand have?

I don't think many have people have that kind of upper lip (probably 10% of the population). To me personally, that kind of upper lip definitely makes a person more attractive regardless of gender. ...
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Parsing of a compound noun with many words

How should I understand this phrase: "threat analysis model", which means: An analysis model of threat, or put in parentheses: (threat(analysis model) A model of threat analysis: (threat analysis (...
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Relative clauses: “I did the best I could.”

I did the best I could. The sentence above can be rephrased: I did the best that I could. In these two examples (that) I could is a relative clause. However, I am not sure whether it is modifying ...
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apostrophe that goes with a noun which precedes a relative clause

Suppose you wanted to place a possessive apostrophe in this sentence: Billy, who goes to my school, favorite game is tag. I know it's not standard, but I can hear kids (or older) saying an s sound ...
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1answer
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What is the correct way to say “It was this week that Justin and my lives changed forever”?

What is the correct way to indicate "Justin and I" as being possessive of our individual lives in this sentence? Is there a way to do this without restructuring the sentence? A friend of mine posted ...
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2answers
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What is the origin of “Pointed Question”?

From the definition of pointed, we know that "pointed question" is something like: "A "sharp", piercing, or directed question". And "pointed question" has been in English since, roughly, the American ...
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When parsing the noun phrase…which is modifying which?

Closest feeling to death is pain. The noun phrase is "closest feeling to death". But I don't know how to parse this sentence...there seem to be two ways to parse this sentence. A. {Closest [...
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When does the phrase “Some of us…” include the speaker?

I do not recall ever hearing anyone say "Some of us..." without including themselves. It appears to me that oneself is assumed to be part of the subject. However, some of is usually used to denote an ...
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A friend of John's / John's friend

The question: Suppose John is my friend, and I am introducing myself to his brother, should I say "I am a friend of John's" or "I am John's friend" ?? I would use the former, but some ...
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1answer
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Is “the many” grammatical? [closed]

The homework is as following As it stands, our rule allows just one determiner in an NP. NP → (D) (AdjP+) N (PP+) (CP) (PP+) How can we revise this rule to account for the following data: ... ...
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Noun clause (singular all the time?)

I have asked one grammarian about this and she ended up being unsure of her answer. Question: is there a possibility that a noun clause is used in a plural manner? For instance: - Her eyes and nose ...
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2answers
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Is “hanging bats” a participial phrase, gerund phrase, or simple noun phrase?

In the sentence "Hanging bats populate most of the caves in North America," what is the role of "hanging bats"? I believe it is a simple noun phrase containing the participle "hanging" (which ...
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2answers
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Please put it on the rack above yourself

Why do we say Could you please put it on the rack above you? In other words, why is there no reflexive needed here? Can we also say "above yourself”, that is, use a reflexive pronoun?
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Word order for subordinate questions

I know subordinate questions have no inversion. Should this sentence: "Do you know what are the good things to do around here?" be "Do you know what the good things are to do around here?" ...
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1answer
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When adding prefixes to noun phrases, should you hyphenate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word? Using “non-” to prefix a two-word phrase When adding a prefix to a noun, I've been taught to usually ...
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Englishman and British man

Why is it Englishman, Frenchman, etc. (one word) but British man (two words)?
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1answer
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Some types of nouns feel ungrammatical in “His every [noun]”?

Abstract nouns, specifically nouns related to feelings, feel natural: Set A: His every {whim, desire, need, wish} should be satisfied by the council. However, concrete nouns feel wrong. Set B:...
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1answer
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Should it be “demand” or “the demand”?

Demand for new cars in the U.S. increased in 2016. We expect demand for new cars to increase in 2017. Demand for new cars in the U.S. increased in 2016. We expect the demand for new cars to increase ...
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1answer
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Joining qualified nouns

Is it ok to use "red and black buses and cabs" to mean "red and black buses and red and black cabs" for a city that has red buses, black buses, red cabs, and blacks cabs? If not, what would be a ...
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Plural modifying noun [duplicate]

Where can I learn about the English rules for noun phrases in which a modifying noun is semantically plural? We say "Horse trainer," not "horses trainer", even though there is usually more than one ...
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1answer
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What’s the reason for the zero article after a preposition and countable noun in “a change of X” and in “a switch from X to Y”?

I am a non-native speaker of English and therefore need your help. The question is: why do we use the zero article in the phrases “a change of X” and “a switch from X to Y”? For instance: a change ...
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Is it right to use 'Statesman' to modify an organization and corporation?

I found a case of using statesman in modifying AOL Inc. in the following sentence of New York Times (February 8). Statesman to me means a leading politician_ and I understand the word here was used ...
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Difference between an adverb modifying an NP consisting a single noun, and an adverb modifying a noun

Consider the following examples: The work is mostly Kim's. Only Kim resigned. A question some of us had (e.g. here and here) was, aren't these examples of adverbs modifying nouns (which they are not ...
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The Order of Modification in English Nouns, Preceding or Succeeding? [closed]

As I don't know the exact linguistic terms, what I mean my "preceding" and "succeeding" in modifying nouns is as follows. Preceding : delicious food, long way, kind person, et cetera Succeeding : ...
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Which of these nouns does the relative clause go with?

I have this sentence: John inadvertently broke the window of Mary's car, which was bought just two weeks ago. Which meaning should I understand between "Mary's car was bought two weeks ago" and "...
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1answer
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Fashionable photographers

I saw somewhere this quote from Wodehouse's Meet Mr. Mulliner (1927): "Statistics show that the two classes of the community which least often marry are milkmen and fashionable photographers – ...
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Usage of at in a question

I have recently read the following quote from a famous vegan activist: How would you feel if the moment you were born someone else had already planned the day of your execution? However, I think ...