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Identifying Noun Phrases – 23 Helpful Groups of Words

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Identifying noun phrases in the English sentence need not be that difficult.

I am about to show you exactly when it becomes quite easy for anybody to know that the grammatical name of a group of words is noun phrase.

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You can easily score full marks here.

But before I let the cat out of the bag, let me tell you another secret. It is all about this grammatical name and function thing.

I am referring to that well known part of the WASSCE English test paper where the candidate is supposed to state the part of speech of a word or the grammatical name of a specified expression taken from a comprehension passage.

Here is the secret about the grammatical name and function of words and groups of words.

IT IS AS EASY TO SCORE FULL MARKS FOR THIS QUESTION AS IT IS TO SCORE NO MARK AT ALL.

Yes. It is very easy to score full marks. And if the candidate is able to do this, it quickly swells their score for that section of the WASSCE English paper.

Sadly, the opposite is true too. But I hate dwelling on negativity so let’s look at the positive side of things.

We want to score full marks

We want you to do well in that paper, don’t we? So, we are giving no room whatsoever to negativity. We want to score full marks.

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This is why I will give you the original secret – the purpose for this tutorial. I want you to score full marks if the correct answer for the grammatical name question is supposed to be NOUN PHRASE.

In another tutorial, I tell you about how the words a, an and the at the beginning of a specified expression should alert you to the fact that the expression in question is most probably a noun phrase. I  also show you a couple of things you should look out for to confirm that truly, it is a noun phrase.

I recommend that you check out this tutorial at any time convenient to you.

I urge you to click here to go through that tutorial if you haven’t yet done so. Thank you.

Grammatical Name: Noun Phrase – For Full Marks

Now let’s move on.

Let’s have the original secret about when it is easiest to know that the grammatical name of the expression you have been given is simply NOUN PHRASE.

There is a time when you will begin to suspect strongly that the grammatical name of an expression is noun phrase. That is when it begins with a word from these special groups of words I’m about to show you.

The reason why you can do so quite easily is that the words in each group are very much related. They belong to one family. For that matter, as soon as you remember just one, you can remember the others fairly easily.

Please note

Each group has its technical name in grammar. But I am going to deliberately ignore those names. Here are my reasons for this.

Reason number one: That is not the purpose of this tutorial.

Reason number two: You don’t really need to know, memorize or understand those terms in order to write a simple answer as NOUN PHRASE in your WASSCE English Language Comprehension test.

I hate to confuse my students with things that serve no purpose in a particular tutorial. So we can safely leave that for now and come back to it when it is necessary.

Agreed? OK; thank you!

Identifying the noun phrase easily

Whenever the specified expression taken from a passage or sentence begins with any member of these families of words, it is very likely that the grammatical name of the expression is NOUN PHRASE.

1. this, these, that, those

Examples are:

This very man

This reason

This expression

This first encounter

These very men

These reasons

These expressions

These first few encounters

That very man

That reason

That expression

That first encounter

Those men

Those reasons

Those expressions

Those initial encounters

2. my, your, his, her, its, our, their,

Examples:

My only hope

My bitterness

My last money

My greatest source of satisfaction

My suggestions

Your only hope

Your bitterness

Your last money

Your greatest source of satisfaction

Your suggestions

Why don’t you complete it for me? Simply replace my or your with his, her, its, our and their.

You will then get for yourself as many noun phrases as you have been able to create.

3. few/a few, little/a little, much, many, a lot, lots, any, some, enough, no

Examples:

Few students

Few possibilities

A few cowardly men

Little attention

Little concern

Little heroes

A little sugar

Much delay

Much noise

Much representation

Many people

Many thanks

Many clear opportunities

Lots of friends

A lot of mistakes

Any individual

Any nice accommodation

Some dirty water

Some insignificant ideas

Enough food

Enough self-confidence

No educational facility

No problem

4. Colour Words

Blue diamond

White elephant

Dark clouds

orange dress

green leaves

5. Number or Quantity Words

These are all noun phrases:

Forty days

Seven boys

Twelve apostles

Ninety-nine questions

6. Words of order or position

First announcement

Second chance

Last suggestion

Initial response

7. Shape Words

Words that describe the shape of an object can help in identifying noun phrases. Examples are:

round table

short interval

flat surface

rectangular compound

8. Size Words

Look out for words that describe size to assist you in identifying noun phrases.

Here are some examples of noun phrases that start with words relating to size.

Big question

Little girl

Small talk

fat bossom

Massive chest

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9. Words that refer to nationality or origin

Italian shoes

Nigerian president

Gambian ambassador

Sierra Leonean team

Liberian superstar

Ghanaian boxer

10. Opinion Words

These words express the opinion of the writer or speaker. They describe the way the person views something. Usually, others tend to hold a different opinion.

They may, therefore, avoid such a word for the same thing, state, quality or situation.

Such opinion words begin many noun phrases. So they can help in identifying noun phrases.

Just take a look at these examples.

Complete disaster

Beautiful woman

Lovely children

Kind-hearted individual

Total confusion

Great Expectations

Lively discussion

11. Words that show what something is used for

Words of this nature help in identifying noun phrases.

The first words in the noun phrases below describe what the object is used for.

Tennis ball

School uniform

Writing desk

Sleeping cloth

Cooking pot

12. Words that show what has been used to make something

The following are all noun phrases. As you can see, each one starts with such a word.

Paper bag

Rubber bullet

Stone building

Cement block

Metal box

13. Words that are formed from other words to end with -LESS

The phrases below are all noun phrases.

Lifeless body

Painless thoughts

Careless attitude

Fearless response

Limitless scope

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14. Words that are formed from other words to end with -IVE

Conducive atmosphere

Combative language

Decisive victory

Expensive joke

Divisive rhetoric

Comprehensive defeat

Abusive language

15. Words that are formed from other words to end with -BLE/-ABLE

Regrettable incident

Communicable disease

Enjoyable occasion

admissible error

inflammable liquid

16. Words that are formed from other words to end with -SOME

Awesome achievement

Gladsome mind

Fearsome animal

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17. Words that are formed from other words to end with -AL

Facial expression

Focal point

Cultural studies

Accidental pregnancy

18. Words that are formed from other words to end in ry/ary/ory

This type of words makes identifying the following noun phrases relatively easy.

Complimentary remarks

Introductory points

Congratulatory message

Silvery metal

19. Words that are formed from other words to end in -FUL

Useful idea

Faithful wife

Delightful outcome

Colourful durbar

Joyful academy

20. Words that are formed from other words to end with -ISH

Yellowish skirt

Foolish remark

Feverish feeling

Smallish man

21. Words that are formed from other words to end with -OUS

Your task of identifying noun phrases becomes less difficult as you can spot a noun phrase any time it begins with an -ous word.

Examples:

Dangerous behaviour

Famous musician

Continuous rainfall

Vicious cycle

22. Words that are formed from other words to end with -IC

Fantastic performance

Academic year

Comic relief

parasitic fellow

22. Another

Examples:

another opportunity

another day

another goal

another development

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