The noun phrase np
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THE NOUN PHRASE (NP) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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THE NOUN PHRASE (NP). PHRASES. Phrase is a word or a group of words Form (category) versus syntactic role (function) of phrases Example 1 (same category, different function): The garden looks wonderful. I watered the garden . Example 2 (same function, different categories):

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  • Phrase is a word or a group of words

  • Form (category) versus syntactic role (function) of phrases

    Example 1 (same category, different function):

    The garden looks wonderful.

    I watered the garden.

    Example 2 (same function, different categories):

    That the garden was beautiful was clear.

    The beauty of the garden was clear.

Np main functions

  • Noun phrase: a noun + zero or more dependents (Huddleson/Pullum p. 13)

  • Subject:

    e.g. The girl was standing in the street.

  • Object

    e.g. The girl put the bicycle on the ground.

  • Complement

    e.g. The girl is an athlete.

Np structural elements

  • The head

  • Determiners

  • Premodifiers

  • Postmodifiers

  • Schematic representation of the NP structure:

    (determiners) (pre-modifiers) noun (post-modifiers)

    e.g. The two wild horses which were grazing on the front lawn were beautiful.

The head

  • The head (cannot be left out): typically a noun or a pronoun

    e.g. Tom is a sailor.

    Anybody can see that.


  • Definition: a grammatically distinct category of words which includes those denoting all kinds of physical objects, such as persons, animals and inanimate objects (Huddleston/Pullum p. 83)

  • Nouns inflect for number (singular or plural) and case (common/plain case and genitive case)

Types of nouns

  • Proper and common

  • Common nouns: count and non-count (mass)

  • Count and non-count nouns: concrete and abstract

Structural types of nps
Structural types of NPs

  • Basic

    e.g. She is Mary Smith.

    The girl is Mary Smith.

  • Complex

    e.g. The pretty girl in the corner is Mary Smith.

Basic np

  • “Basic” vs. “complex” NP

    Examples of basic NPs:

    Your son made a suggestion.

    Example of complex NP:

    They rejected the suggestion which your son made.


  • N.B. Huddleston/Pullum treat pronouns as a subtype of noun (p. 84)

  • Pronouns cannot take determiners as dependents

    e.g. *A she was sitting at the table.


  • Central:

    a) Personal: I, you, he, she, it, we, they (objective case included: e.g. me, him, her, etc)

    b) reflexive (myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves)

    c) possessive (mine, yours, hers, his, its, ours, theirs)


  • Personal pronouns display person contrast, number contrast, in the 3rd person three-way gender contrast, in the 1st and 3rd person they display contrast in case (subjective, objective)

  • Reflexive pronouns are always coreferential with a noun or another pronoun (gender, number and person agreement)

  • Possessive determiners vs. pronouns

Pronouns types cont
PRONOUNS, types (cont)

  • Relative (do not display person contrast):

  • wh- items: who, whom, whose, which

    b) that and zero

  • Interrogative (do not display person contrast): who, whom, whose, which, what

  • Demonstrative (do not display person contrast): that/this; these/those

  • Indefinite (do not display person contrast): some/any/no/every + (thing, body, one); each; all/both; neither/either; none; some; any