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Noun phrase

 
 
A noun phrase is a phrase whose head is a noun (see Phrases).

Extensions: Determiners and attributes
Word order
Function


Extensions: Determiners and attributes

A noun phrase can be composed of three parts: head, determiner, attribute.

Noun phrase
Determiner  Central noun phrase
Attribute Head
ein großer Korb

Determiner

In principle, a noun or a noun phrase is always accompanied by a determiner:

der Korb
ein mit Äpfeln gefüllter Korb
keine Äpfel
dein großer Bruder
dieser Besucher aus der Schweiz

In some cases, however, a noun or a noun phrase appears without a determiner:

schöne Körbe

See Nouns without articles.

Attribute

The following kinds of attributes can be found in noun phrases:

Adjective (phrase) ein schönes Auto
Participle (phrase) gekochtes Gemüse, die lebende Zelle
Noun (phrase) das Auto seiner Eltern
Adverb (phrase) der Baum dort hinten
Prepositional phrase  die Besucher aus der Schweiz
Conjunctional phrase  das Auto als Statussymbol
Apposition Herr Müller, der Direktor der Fabrik
Infinitive clause and
subordinate clause
der Plan, eine Bank zu überfallen
der Baum, der dort steht


Word order

Word order is described separately for each of the three parts of a noun phrase: head, determiner, attribute.

Noun phrase
Determiner Central noun phrase
Attribute Head
ein großer Korb

Head

The head of a noun phrase is a noun. The other parts of the phrase are placed around the noun.

Determiner

The determiner always comes first in the phrase. It introduces the noun phrase:

der große Korb
kein großer Korb
meine alte Tante
dieser schöne Spaziergang
jede Bemerkung des Vorsitzenden

A noun phrase can also appear without a determiner:

große Körbe
französischer Wein

Peters neues Auto

See Nouns without articles.

Attribute

An attribute can be placed before or after the noun. When it is placed in front of the noun, it comes between the determiner and the noun:

Determiner  Attribute   Head  
ein großer Korb

Usually in front of the noun: Usually after the noun:

Function

Noun phrases have many different functions in a sentence:






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