UNIVERSIDAD METROPOLITANA DE CIENCIAS DE LA EDUCACIÓN
DEPARTAMENTO DE INGLÉS
English Grammar: Morphosyntax
Prof. Pablo Corvalán
NOUNS AND NOUN PHRASES
The structure of the Noun Phrase can be illustrated as follows
the very old
those very old
in the parking lot
(that) the company bought for the
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.
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.
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:
focus-foci or (also ‘focuses’) alumnus-alumni
virus-viri (cf. viruses)
formula- formulae (formulas)
medium-media (cf. mediums, medias)
cf. forum-forums /...
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