is a group of words without both a subject and predicate. Phrases combine words into a larger unit that can function as a sentence element. For example, a participial phrase can include adjectives, nouns, prepositions and adverbs; as a single unit, however, it functions as one big adjective modifying a noun (or noun phrase). PHRASE
Noun phrases may serve as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, or objects of prepositions. Most noun phrases are constructed using determiners, adjectives and a head noun. Examples: My coach is happy. (noun phrase as subject) NOUN PHRASE
From a functional point of view, the noun phrase has four major components, occurring in a fixed order: the determinative , that constituent which determines the reference of the noun phrase in its linguistic or situational context; premodification , which comprises all the modifying or describing constituents before the head, other than the determiners; the head , around which the other constituents cluster; and postmodification , those which comprise all the modifying constituents placed after the head.
What if a single noun isn't specific enough for our purposes? How then do we modify a noun to construct a more specific reference? English places modifiers before a noun. Here we indicate the noun that is at the center of a noun phrase by an asterisk (*) and modifiers by arrows pointed toward the noun they modify. white house * large man * Modification is a somewhat technical term in linguistics. It does not mean to change something, as when we "modify" a car or dress. To modify means to limit, restrict, characterize, or otherwise focus meaning. We use this meaning throughout the discussion here. Modifiers before the noun are called pre-modifiers. All of the pre-modifiers that are present and the noun together form a noun phrase . NOUN PHRASE pre-modifiers noun * By contrast, languages such as Spanish and French place modifiers after the noun casa blanca white house * homme grand big man * NOUN PRE MODIFIERS
The most common pre-modifiers are adjectives, such as red , long , hot . Other types of words often play this same role. Not only articles
but also verbs
and possessive pronouns
Premodifiers limit the reference in a wide variety of ways.
Order: second, last
Location: kitchen, westerly
Source or Origin: Canadian
Color: red, dark
Smell: acrid, scented
Material: metal, oak
Size: large, 5-inch
Luster: shiny, dull
A number of pre-modifiers must appear first if they appear at all.
These words typically signal the beginning of a noun phrase.
Some noun phrases are short:
To appreciate the rich possibilities of pre-modifiers, you have only to see how much you can expand a premodifier in a noun phrase:
the book the history book the American history book the illustrated American history book the recent illustrated American history book the recent controversial illustrated American history book the recent controversial illustrated leather bound American history book
We were all taught about pre -modifiers: adjectives appearing before a noun in school. Teachers rarely speak as much about adding words after the initial reference. Just as we find pre -modifiers, we also find post -modifiers—modifiers coming after a noun. The most common post-modifier is prepositional phrases: the book on the table * civil conflict in Africa * the Senate of the United States * POST MODIFIERS
Post-modifiers commonly answer the traditional news reporting questions of who , what , where , when , how , or why . Noun post-modifiers commonly take the following forms: prepositional phrase the dog in the store * _ing phrase the girl running to the store * _ed past tense the man wanted by the police * wh - clauses the house where I was born * that/which clauses the thought that I had yesterday * If you see a preposition, wh - word ( which, who, when where ), -ing verb form, or that or which after a noun, you can suspect a post-modifier and the completion of a noun phrase. The noun together with all pre- and post-modifiers constitutes a single unit, a noun phrase that indicates the complete reference. Any agreement in terms of singular/plural is with the noun at the center. The boys on top of the house are ............. * Here the noun at the center of the noun phrase is plural, so a plural form of the verb is called for (not a singular form to agree with the singular house ) .
Verb phrases are composed of the verbs of the sentence and any modifiers of the verbs, including adverbs, prepositional phrases or objects. Most verb phrases function as predicates of sentences. Example: Henry made my coach very proud. (verb phrase as predicate) VERB PHRASES
The verb phrase (VP) in English has a noticeably different structure, since the information it carries about mood, tense, modality, aspect, and voice is quite different from the information carried by a noun phrase. The verb phrase has two functional parts,
the auxiliary , a grammatical morpheme carrying information about mood, tense, modality, and voice; and
The main verb , a lexical morpheme carrying its lexical information and, usually, an inflection.
Adjective phrases are composed of the adjectives that modify a noun and any adverbs or other elements that modify those adjectives. Adjectival phrases always occur inside noun phrases or as predicate adjectives. Example: Dad bought [ (a blue and green) sweater ] ADJECTIVE PHRASES
The adjective phrase in English has four functional constituents, premodification , those modifying, describing, or qualifying constituents which precede the head; the head , which is an adjective or participle serving as the focus of the phrase; postmodification , that modifying constituent which follows the head; and complementation , (the major subcategory of postmodification here) that constituent which follows any postmodification and completes the specification of a meaning implied by the head.
Adverbial phrases are composed of the adverbs that modify verbs, adjectives, or clauses. Adverbial phrases may occur with more than one word. The extra adverb is called an intensifier Example: He scored the goal very quickly.
Prepositional phrases are composed of the preposition and a following noun phrase. Prepositional phrases are used either adjectivally to modify nouns or adverbially to modify verbs, adjectives, or clauses. Examples: The man in the house rented it. (prepositional phrase modifies a noun adjectivally) He went in the arena . (prepositional phrase modifies a verb adverbially) Dad was happy about the goal . (prepositional phrase modifies an adjective adverbially) On reflection , I believe that she was correct. (prepositional phrase modifies a clause adverbially) PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES
Gerundive phrases may function in any way in which nouns may function: as subjects, objects, objects of a preposition, or even nouns functioning as adjectives Gerundive phrases may contain gerunds, adjectives, objects, adverbs or other main verb elements. Example: Dad talked about winning the game . GERUNDIVE PHRASES
Participles are root verbs with an "ed, en or ing" suffix. In the case of the past participial, the form may be irregular. Participial phrases may contain objects and other elements that might occur with main verbs. Participial phrases always function as adjectives. Example: Racing around the corner , he slipped and fell PARTICIPIAL PHRASES
Infinitive phrases are composed of an infinitive verb (the base form of the verb preceded by to) and any modifying adverbs or prepositional phrases. The infinitive phrase has three functions: noun, adjective, adverb. Examples: My duty as a coach is to teach skills. (infinitive phrase functions as a noun) My sister wanted a cat to love . (infinitive phrase functions as an adjective) Bill is eager to work on his skating. (infinitive phrase functions adverbially, modifying an adjective) INFINITIVE PHRASES