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Noun Phrases in English

1 Different types of noun phrase in English and how to use them. A noun phrase gives information about a noun. We can combine nouns in the three ways shown in the table below.

Typs of Noun Phrase

A noun phrase gives information about a noun. We can combine nouns in the three ways shown in the table below.
Look at the different pairs of words and match each one to the appropriate use:
EXAMPLE: l b)
  1. when we name a particular thing and it is a well-known combination
  2. when we say what things are made of
  3. when the second noun is produced by the first noun (often an animal)
  4. when we describe a container and its contents
  5. when we describe measurement
  6. when we describe a certain quantity of something
  7. when we talk about parts of inanimate objects
  8. when we indicate possession
  9. when the first noun is a user of the second noun
  10. when the nouns do not refer to a well-known/typical combination
  1. noun + noun
    a 14-year exile, a five-mile run
  2. a firework display, mineral water
  3. a gold ring, a silk scarf
  4. a table leg, a car door

    noun + 's + noun
  5. America's birthday, Simon's brother
  6. a women's sauna, a children's pool
  7. goat's cheese, duck's eggs
    noun + preposition + noun
  8. a piece of bread, a pack of cards
  9. a symbol of wealth, a book about indoor plants
  10. a box of chocolates, a glass of wine
2 Look at the different pairs of words and match each one to the appropriate use: EXAMPLE: l b)
  1. noun + noun
    a 14-year exile, a five-mile run
  2. a firework display, mineral water
  3. a gold ring, a silk scarf
  4. a table leg, a car door noun + 's + noun
  5. America's birthday, Simon's brother
  6. a women's sauna, a children's pool
  7. goat's cheese, duck's eggs noun + preposition + noun
  8. a piece of bread, a pack of cards
  9. a symbol of wealth, a book about indoor plants
  10. a box of chocolates, a glass of wine
  1. when we name a particular thing and it is a well-known combination
  2. when we say what things are made of
  3. when the second noun is produced by the first noun (often an animal)
  4. when we describe a container and its contents
  5. when we describe measurement
  6. when we describe a certain quantity of something
  7. when we talk about parts of inanimate objects
  8. when we indicate possession
  9. when the first noun is a user of the second noun
  10. when the nouns do not refer to a well-known/typical combination

Exercises

3

Vocabulary: noun collocations (with of)

Connect a noun from the left with one of these:
  1. a grain of
  2. pearls of
  3. a load of
  4. a slip of
  5. a difference of
  6. a heart of
  7. a lapse of
  8. a term of
  9. the price of
  10. (without) fear of
  11. a question of
4
Listen and match to the phrases above
audio audio audio audio audio audio audio audio audio slip of the tongue audio wind up audio

Example sentences

  1. a grain of truth
    There was more than a grain of truth in what he'd said.
  2. pearls of wisdom
    The media assembled to catch the minister's pearls of political wisdom.
  3. a load of rubbish
    Who said they were cheaper - what a load of rubbish!
  4. slip of the tongue
    I called her new boyfriend by her previous boyfriend's name - it was just a slip of the tongue.
  5. difference of opinion
    They had a difference of opinion about/over their child's education.
  6. a heart of gold
    She really has a heart of gold. Every time I need help, she is there.
  7. a lapse of concentration
    Sitting on the computer for hours often causes a lapse of concentration.
  8. a term of endearment
    Be careful when you want to address strangers in a nice way that you don't say to them "my dear friend", because this is a term of endearment.
  9. the price of failure
    We all pay the price for failure of our health care system
  10. (without) fear of contradiction
    I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that tonight has been a real success.
  11. a question of time
    It's only a question of time till I can master English collocations.

Meanings

  1. be very kind
  2. a small amount of truth
  3. the consequence of not succeeding
  4. a slight disagreement
  5. when it is necessary to wait for something
  6. Something you say when you mean to say something else
  7. a way you address someone you love
  8. sure that no one else will say that you are wrong
  9. a short time when someone is careless or forgetful
  10. to say that something is complete nonsense or stupid
  11. wise remarks (often used sarcastically to mean remarks that are not at all useful)
5
Decide on the appropriate definition below for each phrase in the previous exercise.
  1. Be very kind. He has a _________
  2. A small amount of truth. A _________
  3. The consequence of not succeeding. The _________
  4. A slight disagreement. _________
  5. When it is necessary to wait for something _________
  6. Something you say when you mean to say something else. _________
  7. A way you address someone you love _________
  8. Sure that no one else will say you are wrong _________
  9. A short time when someone is careless or forgetful. _________
  10. To say something is complete nonsense or stupid (spoken informal) _________
  11. Wise remarks (often used jokingly to mean slightly stupid remarks) _________
6 Take it in turns to describe to another student a situation which illustrates one of the phrases in Exercise I. They must respond with the appropriate phrase.
EXAMPLE: Student A: I remember when I was beginning to learn Engish I once said 'Where is the chicken?' instead of 'Where is the kitchen?' I knew immediately what I'd said but it was really funny.
Student B:It was a slip of the tongue 7
Choose a word to stress when you read these sentences to express different feelings and ideas
  1. That's Simon's brother.
    That's Simon's brother.
  2. Do you have a book about indoor plants?
    Do you have a book about indoor plants?
  3. I'd like to buy my girlfriend a gold ring.
    I'd like to buy my girlfriend a gold ring.
  4. I love goat's cheese.
    I love goat's cheese.
  5. I didn't steel the books from the library. ( Try stressing different words )

Practice

Which of these sentences are correct?
  1. The hair of Susan needs cutting.
  2. Could I have a spoonful of sugar in my coffee.
  3. There is an excellent shoes shop in the high street.
  4. There was a very good documentary about Indian tigers on TV last night.
  5. We need an 18-years old girl to play this part.
  6. Tom was involved in a minor (not so serious) car's accident at the weekend.
  7. This car's top speed is over 250 km per hour.
  8. Police divers searched along the river bed but they couldn't find the missing knife.

Noun phrase practice.

8 Make single sentences containing all the information in brackets.
EXAMPLE: They live in a house (?250,000; the house is in Scotland; an amazing view of the countryside)
They live in a ?250,000 house in Scotland with an amazing view of the countryside.
  1. There was a delay at the airport (three hours , Rome , technical reasons)
  2. He has a painting in his study (100 years old , oil , Picasso was painted it)
  3. She has been a teacher ( Maths, local secondary school , 25-years)
  4. We did a walk for charity ( twenty miles , the charity is for children, the weekend)
    Charity = Collecting money for a good cause
  5. They had a meal ( three-course, a bottle of wine , under 35 pounds)
  6. A girl was awarded a medal ( 13 years old , gold, she was brave, the mayor gave the award)
9 Four of the following sentences are incorrect. Find the mistakes and correct them.
  1. The hair of Susan needs cutting.
  2. Could I have a spoonful of sugar in my coffee?
  3. There is an excellent shoes shop in the high street.
  4. There was a very good documentary about Indian tigers on TV last night.
  5. We need an 18-years old girl to play this part.
  6. Tom was involved in a minor car's accident at the weekend.
  7. Police divers searched along the river bed but they couldn't find the missing knife.
Watch Out! containers

What's the difference between these phrases in italics:
We need another wine glass for the table.
Can I get you another glass of wine?
Show Answers
10 Form an appropriate compound noun using the word in brackets
  1. I had terrible _________ before I gave that talk in Venice. (flies)
  2. The world _________ will be held in Scotland next year. (ship)
  3. This _________ provides you with some of the most entrancing views. (side)
  4. If the antenna is unbalanced, a radial system or _________ is necessary for operation. (counter)
  5. playground _________ come under the Department of Health and Safety. (lines)
  6. She treated us with the friendly professionalism that has become her _________ . (mark)
  7. When riding a bicycle, you should wear the proper _________ . (head)
  8. He felt that moving out from his parents' home was a real _________ in his life. (stone)
  9. A crowd of curious _________ soon gathered to see what was happening. (on)
  10. The stables and other _________ were sold together with the main house. (buildings)
  11. It's too early to predict the _________ of the meeting. (out)
  12. The disk has built-in _________ to prevent certain errors. (guards)
  13. Paula went to the Royal College of Music on a _________ . (ship)
  14. The company secretary has written to all the _________ to apologise for the mistake. (share)
  15. I thought her speech had slightly sinister _________ . (under)
11

Select the correct alternative in each case.

  1. Is that your friend/friend's car?
  2. Do you like watching horse/horses races?
  3. Could you pass me the bath's/bath towel?
  4. Would you like some mint tea/tea of mint?
  5. It was essentially a lost violin film/ film about a lost violin.
  6. There are lots of kitchen's/kitchen cupboards in the new house.
  7. Have you got a timetable of trains/ train timetable?
  8. Look! There's a bird's nest/nest of birds in that hedge.
  9. This sweater is made of lamb's wool/ lamb wool.
  10. Has anyone seen a large matches box /box of matches?
  11. Can you hear a child's/child voice?
  12. There won't ever be a tax on educational books/an educational books tax.
  13. Please pass me that wood / wooden spoon.

Noun phrase stress patterns in English pronunciation

Read these sentences. What difference does the position of the stress make to the meaning of the sentences?
  1. That's Simon's brother.
  2. Do you have a book about indoor plants?
  3. I'd like to buy my girlfriend a gold ring.
  4. I love goat's cheese.

Practice

Which of these sentences are correct?


  1. The hair of Susan needs cutting. (n)
    Susan's hair needs cutting (y)
  2. Could I have a spoonful of sugar in my coffee. (y)
  3. There is an excellent shoes shop in the high street. (n) shoe shop
  4. There was a very good documentary about Indian tigers on TV last night. (y)
  5. We need an 18-years old girl to play this part. (n) 18-year old
  6. Tom was involved in a minor (not so serious) car's accident at the weekend. (n) car accident (y)
  7. This car's top speed is over 250 km per hour.
  8. The car door (y)
  9. The car driver (y)
  10. Police divers searched along the river bed but they couldn't find the missing knife.

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