How to Write English Sentences using Noun Phrases

 How to Write English Sentences using Noun Phrases

Introduction to Phrases

Phrases tend to be larger than individual words and are usually considered as expansions of an individual word. Phrases
are smaller than clauses or sentences as they do not have subjects and predicates or subjects and verbs.

Phrase classifications are generally based on the headword, phrase function or construction of the phrase. We refer
to the central element in a phrase as the head of the phrase. If the head is a noun then the phrase is usually
called a noun phrase.

There is some overlap when describing phrases based on the either headword or function. The headword can usually stand
alone as a one-word phrase. The headword is the only part that cannot be omitted from a phrase.

Phrases can modify or be incorporated into other phrases or a string of phrases. Phrases can be effectively used to
show complex relationships between objects or abstracts.


For most writing purposes noun phrases can be treated as single grammatical units performing the work of a noun in the
sentence. Noun phrases may serve as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, complements or objects of prepositions.

A noun phrase is a phrase whose head is a noun or a pronoun accompanied by modifiers. Noun headword pre-modifiers
include determiners, articles, demonstratives, numerals, possessives and quantifiers. The noun headword post-modifiers
can be complements, other phrases or relative clauses.

Noun Phrases Examples:

The hockey coach is happy. (Noun phrase as subject.)

My best friend's father drove us. (Noun phrase as possessive.)

We saw a very small dog. (Noun phrase as a direct object)

Shirley gave the tall girl the file. (Noun phrase as an indirect object)

He wants to become a goalie. (Noun phrase as a complement)

If you liked this page of English grammar explanations and samples and would like more - you can buy the 96 page
grammar summary "Blueprint for English" eBook (for 5 dollars) and get the SentenceMaster practice word
cards. Use this grammar eBook to become an English writer.

Special Note for ESL English as a Second Language Teachers

Using the practice word cards in this challenge format is an excellent method of focusing the student's attention
on the 28 to 40 words in use. Teachers can confirm that the students know the various functions of the words
by parts of speech. Any missing information can be an excellent opportunity for teaching vocabulary,
language comprehension and context.

Teachers can use the Sentence Master practice word cards to teach the 1000 most used core English language words and
demonstrate the wide variety of context variations used in written English communication.

After the students have mastered the creation of many sentences using the original six word cards - you can replace
one or more cards, add some cards or start with six new cards. When students need additional complexity and advanced
skills practice there are 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, word challenges and the grid quiz.

Using the practice word cards can help ESL English teachers focus attention, stage the learning step by step,
expand vocabulary, teach grammar, context, and comprehension and even have some fun.

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