NOUNS AND NOUN PHRASES

Topics: Pronoun, Grammatical number, Adjective Pages: 26 (3598 words) Published: November 7, 2013
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UNIVERSIDAD METROPOLITANA DE CIENCIAS DE LA EDUCACIÓN
DEPARTAMENTO DE INGLÉS
English Grammar: Morphosyntax
Prof. Pablo Corvalán

HANDOUT:
NOUNS AND NOUN PHRASES
The NP
The structure of the Noun Phrase can be illustrated as follows

(Premodification)

H

(Postmodification)

determiners
adjectives
nouns
the
the old
the very old
those very old

noun
pronoun

prepositional phrases
relative clauses
in the parking lot

cars
(that) the company bought for the
employees

Other pre- and postmodifiers may include determiner phrases, adjective phrases and even adverb phrases. A noun may also be complemented by appositions (other NPs or clauses) As the head of an NP is a noun or a pronoun, in the following sections we will have a look at each class in turn. Afterwards, we will turn to the most common premodifiers, namely determiners.

Nouns
The forms of nouns are varied. However, there are some suffixes that are associated with nouns: -ity, -ment, -tion, -ness, -ure (closure, departure), -er, -or, -al (dismissal, appraisal, refusal), -ess, -dom, -ese (Japanese), -ism, etc.

From a semantic point of view, nouns typically denote entities and can be classified syntactically into common nouns and proper nouns or names.
Common nouns can be count and non-count nouns. Both classes can be concrete (desk/ money) and abstract (difficulty/ love).
Some nouns can be both count and non-count, though there is usually a slight change of meaning. (cf. coke / a coke, glass / a glass, wood / a wood, paper / a paper, work / works, fruit / fruits)
Some nouns are typically non-count in English but countable in Spanish (e.g. bread, advice, furniture, information, news, work, toothpaste, rubbish, chaos, progress, evidence, harm, health, research, transport, travel, wealth, etc).

Others, though less common, are typically count nouns in English but uncountable in Spanish (e.g. people, headache, pain).
Note that ‘travels’ is rather archaic.
cf. Gulliver’s Travels
Nouns inflect for number, case, and some for gender.

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Number:
Most count nouns form the plural by simply adding an -s (cats, tables). If the noun ends in a sibilant, the plural is -es (boxes, bushes). If the singular ends in -y, the plural is -ies (spies, soliloquies), unless the singular ends with a letter having a vowel-value (days, boys). Note that if the noun is a proper name, the rule does not apply (The two Germanys, the Santiagos of America)

With nouns ending in -o, the plural is usually regular (studios, pianos, kangaroos). However, there is an important group of nouns ending in -o whose plural is formed with -es (echoes, tomatoes, embargoes, heroes, potatoes, torpedoes, vetoes) In some cases there is variation (buffalo(e)s, cargo(e)s, halo(e)s, motto(e)s, volcano(e)s) Compound nouns are usually regular in adding -s to the final element (baby sitters, grownups, breakdowns), unless the compound has an obvious head noun (parents-in-law, passersby, grants-in-aid) (cf. lay-bys, forget-me-nots, merry-go-rounds). Irregular plural

Quite a number of nouns have an irregular plural form. Greenbaum and Quirk (1990) group them under the following headings:

Voicing
knife- knives
mouth-mouths
elf-elves
life-lives
calf-calves
wolf-wolves
sheaf-sheaves
Vowel Mutation
foot-feet
louse-lice
goose-geese
woman-women
Foreign Plurals
 from Latin
stimulus-stimuli
focus-foci  or  (also ‘focuses’) alumnus-alumni
bacillus-bacilli
virus-viri (cf. viruses)
nucleus-nuclei (nucleuses)
syllabus-syllabi (syllabuses)
fungus-fungi 
radius-radii
uterus-uteri (uteruses)
corpus- corpora
genus-genera

antenna-antennae (antennas)
alumna-alumnae
formula- formulae (formulas)
nebula-nebulae
vertebra-vertebrae (vertebras)

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addendum-addenda
curriculum-curricula (curriculums)
erratum-errata
desideratum –desiderata
medium-media (cf. mediums, medias)
ovum-ova
stratum-strata
cf. forum-forums /...
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