A collection of articles on EFL methodology for teachers at all levels of experience.
An ELT Glossary : Noun phrases
A noun phrase is a part of a sentence or utterance that consists of a noun or a pronoun, and any elements (determiners, adjectives etc) that premodify (come before) them or post-modify (come after them). All the underlined expressions in the following sentences are noun phrases :
Leave it alone!
Roses are red...
The books are over there.
The red ones are sweetest
Where's my old, grey coat?
This is a heavily pre-modified noun phrase.
Brown and Yule (1983) pointed out that heavily pre-modified noun phrases - ie nouns with several pre-modifiers piled up in front of them- are rare in spoken English, though very common in written English. In spoken English, information tends to be "chunked" and given one item at a time in order to make real-time processing easier for the listener. See here for their examples.
Noun phrases can also be post-modified, most often by a prepositional phrase (underlined):
A wide range of items
The man with a beard
or by a relative clause (underlined), often with elements ellipted (in brackets):
The person (who is) responsible
Brown G. and Yule G. (1983) Teaching the Spoken Language, Cambridge University Press
(Don't forget you can often get used copies of the books you want from Amazon at a much cheaper price than that advertised. It's always worth checking out.)