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What are noun phrases?

Noun phrases (grouping together a collection of words to act as one noun) are one of the keystones of academic writing.

Noun phrase is making the meaning of a noun more precise from the words immediately before (pre-modifying words) or after (post-modifying) it.

Two Types:

  1. Pre-modifying words are articles, quantifiers, adjectives and nouns.
  2. Post-modifying words are prepositional phrases and noun clauses.

1. Quantifiers

All, both, every, many, much, some, few, little, any, either, neither, none, each

Choose the correct quantifier:

i. Each / any / every of the buildings is surrounded by high security fencing.

ii. Every / both / much of the proposed bills were refused by the public.

ANSWERS: i. each / ii. both

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2. Adjective + Nouns

Identify the adjective + noun form:

Example:An experiment done on a small scale = a small-scale experiment

I. Unemployment over a long term can affect a person’s mental health.


ii. An element of pay that is led by performance can be appropriate in some professions.


ANSWERS: i. Long-term unemployment / ii. Performance-led pay

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3. Noun + Noun

Identify the noun+ noun form:

Example:Gas that comes from Shale = Shale gas

i. Systems that used for defence: ________________________________________________

ii. A manager who is in charge of accounts: ________________________________________

ANSWERS: i. defence system / ii. accounts manager

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4. Noun + Preposition Phrases

Put in the correct preposition:

Example: Public protests can sometimes lead to a change in the law.

i. A majority of those taking part expressed a preference_________ the conservative electoral system.

ii. Sustainable development should form the basis________  a corporate vision of the future.

ANSWERS: i. preference for / ii. basis for

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5. Noun + Noun Clauses

Noun clause: noun [fact] + that + noun phrase  

The fact [noun] that the enquiry raises a number of serious issues [noun phrase] should surprise no one.

Put the underlined words into the correct order:

0. Wilson (2019) has hypothesis Mars criticized that the is able to sustain life.

___ Wilson (2019) has criticized the hypothesis that Mars is able to sustain life._____

i. Smith (2018) argues view that the there problems are against with the data system.


ANSWERS: I. Smith (2018) argues against the view that there are problems with the data system

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Common nouns used in noun + noun clauses:

argument / announcement / assumption / belief / claim / conclusion / disposition / doubt / fact / effect / idea / possibility / proposition / view / warning /

Buy the Noun Phrases worksheet:


Noun Phrases Worksheet

This lesson is a worksheet to highlight what are noun phrases and provide valuable practice. It focuses on the key concepts of quantifiers, adjectives and nouns, noun + noun, noun + preposition and noun phrase combinations (see example).  Level ***** [B2/C1]  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP


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