car red with a sunroof sporty My Did you see what happened to this noun? It’s just been expanded!!!
woman in black mysterious The Let’s see that again. The original single word ‘woman’ has been expanded, and this gives us more information.
The term noun phrase refers to a group of words which act like a noun. Words can go before the noun e.g. The great river e.g man of honor and/or after the noun. They modify the meaning of the noun.
Nouns often have other words in front of them. Determiners e.g. a, the, that, my, your, Adjectives e.g. little, blue, silly Verbs e.g. a buzzing bee Nouns, acting like adjectives e.g. the lemonade bottle
Choose one of the nouns below. Think of a list of words that will expand the noun when you put them before the noun. tree music fire telephone book
Words which go after a noun can modify it too, e.g. the kiss of death The girl with red hair was afraid of flying. She was determined to overcome this fear. Her aunt in America had invited her to stay and she wanted to go. Fears like this can be overcome, she decided. See if you can spot any in this passage. Did you spot these?
Noun phrases can help to enrich writing. Look at the following passage. The nouns have been highlighted. See if you can modify them and improve the passage. The teacher raised his eyes and looked at the class . He held up the paper . ‘ Which student has done this work ?’ ‘ It’s mine, ’ said a voice . ‘ Come and get the reward ,’ said the teacher .
Now read two other versions. As you read them, think about the differences, the effects of the noun phrases and how they compare to your version. The demon-like teacher raised his blood-shot eyes and looked at the class of terrified children . He held up the crumpled and torn paper . ‘ Which miserable student has done this so-called work?’ ‘ It’s mine, ’ said a tiny trembling voice . ‘ Come and get the reward you deserve ,’ said the teacher with malice in his voice .
The laughing teacher raised his watery eyes and looked at the puzzled class. He held up the paper he’d been reading . ‘ Which quick-witted student has done this hilarious work on ‘My Life as a Whoopee Cushion’?’ ‘ It’s mine, ’ said a voice from under a table . ‘ Come and get the reward for the funniest story this year ,’ said the teacher through his giggles .
As you can see, noun phrases and how you construct them, are important aspects of writing. You need to know when enough is enough too. Read the following passage. Think about how they could be improved. The tall, imposing and really rather massive monument was made from cool white marble with lots of little, itsy-bitsy, infinitesimal flecks of emerald green running all the way through it. The girl gasped as she looked up at the absolutely huge, thick, chunky pillars, utterly and thoroughly amazed by its simplicity. The description contains too many adjectives.
The tall, imposing monument was made from cool white marble with little flecks of emerald green running through it. The girl gasped as she looked up at the thick pillars, amazed by its simplicity. Now read another version and think why it might be more effective. Sometimes less is more. Be aware of noun phrases in your own writing and also in the writing of others.