the big green house

Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi teachers,
Is this assumption correct? I took it somewhere on the net.
We can tell that each bolded phrase acts as a noun because we could switch them with a single noun, like “house”, and the sentence would still be correct.

a) Example of a noun phrase as subject:
The big green house is for sale.

b) Example of a noun phrase as direct object:
Jeff wants the big green house.

c) Example of a noun phrase as object of preposition:
Finally, Jeff is living in the big green house.

Thanks in advance.
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    We can tell that each bolded phrase acts as a noun because we could switch them with a single noun pronoun,
    :thumbsup:
    It is for sale.

    b) Example of a noun phrase as direct object:
    Jeff wants it.

    c) Example of a noun phrase as object of preposition:
    Finally, Jeff is living in it.

    The boys without a brother in the first year studying Ancient Greek but with examination results that are pending the availability of marking staff may go.
    They may go
     
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    Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    It is for sale.

    b) Example of a noun phrase as direct object:
    Jeff wants it.

    c) Example of a noun phrase as object of preposition:
    Finally, Jeff is living in it.

    The boys without a brother in the first year studying Ancient Greek but with examination results that are pending the availability of marking staff may go.
    They may go
    Hi Paul,
    Absolutely right correction and explanation. I do appreciate it. :thumbsup::)
    I also like your example. Astonishing!

    TL
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi teachers,
    Is this assumption correct? I took it somewhere on the net.
    We can tell that each bolded phrase acts as a noun because we could switch them with a single noun, like “house”, and the sentence would still be correct.

    a) Example of a noun phrase as subject:
    The big green house is for sale.

    b) Example of a noun phrase as direct object:
    Jeff wants the big green house.

    c) Example of a noun phrase as object of preposition:
    Finally, Jeff is living in the big green house.

    Thanks in advance.
    Replacing The big green house with it means that "The big green house" is a constituent in sentence structure. Now, does that make "The big green house" a noun phrase (functioning as either subject, direct object, or object of preposition)? The traditional/common view is "yes;" the idea is that the "head" of The big green house (head = meaningful word) is "house," a noun. This is not, however, the view of Generative Grammar, where "The big green house" is analyzed as a determiner phrase. (Better: the prevailing view in Generative Grammar is that "The big green house" is a determiner phrase, though some linguists there still hold to the traditional view of noun phrase.) If you are interested, here is a good summary.

    For your purposes (I doubt that you are getting deeply into syntactic theory), saying that "The big green house" is a noun phrase is good enough; just make a mental note that the exact nature of this phrase (determiner phrase vs. noun phrase) is a topic of debate among linguists.



     

    Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi SevenDays,
    Very interesting and quite deep. But as you've said, for my purposes, even better, for what the students have to learn, "determiner phrase vs. noun phrase", is something that is out of scope.
    But, to me, is something new and good to know.

    TL
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Now, does that make "The big green house" a noun phrase [...] This is not, however, the view of Generative Grammar1 where "The big green house" is analyzed as a determiner phrase.
    A determiner is nothing more than an adjective with a fur coat on - and "The big green house" is not at all adjectival.

    1 Also known as Chomsky's "Universal Grammar" - a constantly shifting, pseudo-scientific theory that has garnered but little support and is singularly unhelpful in exams. Scientific American: Is Chomsky's Theory of Language Wrong? Pinker Weighs in on Debate
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    A determiner is nothing more than an adjective with a fur coat on - and "The big green house" is not at all adjectival.

    1 Also known as Chomsky's "Universal Grammar" - a constantly shifting, pseudo-scientific theory that has garnered but little support and is singularly unhelpful in exams. Scientific American: Is Chomsky's Theory of Language Wrong? Pinker Weighs in on Debate
    Well, we need to be precise. Adjectives are modifiers, but not all determiners are modifiers. Quantifiers do modify, but articles do not; articles are identifiers: they identify a noun's definite or indefinite reference. Accordingly, "The big green house" would be a determiner phrase (going with that terminology, for the sake of our discussion), but not adjectival.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Well, we need to be precise.
    But not so precise as to make distinctions without a difference.
    Adjectives are modifiers,
    Yes, they modify nouns - determiners modify nouns. "Modify" seems to me to be a broad term: adding something that causes a distinction.
    I want black cats, not green cats
    I want the key, not a key.

    but articles do not: articles are identifiers: they identify a noun's definite or indefinite reference.
    Or as I say, "By making them general or specific, they modify them." - and that goes for quantifiers. Determiners, like adjective have meaning which they add.

    Whereas I have no difficulty with "determiner" as a useful term as the description of a particular sort of adjective/noun modifier, I cannot see why the term "determiner phrase" is appropriate or helpful.

    The cats are in the garden -> Me -> The cats = noun phrase. Chomsky -> Determiner phrase.
    Black cats are in the garden -> Me -> Black cats = noun phrase. Chomsky -> Adjective phrase Noun phrase.
    The cats were somewhat larger than usual -> somewhat larger than usual -> Adjectival phrase.

    I think the main problem is that I don't believe in Universal Grammar. It is an interesting read but I have the greatest doubts that it can exist as an explanation of anything.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    But not so precise as to make distinctions without a difference.
    Determiners and adjectives do demonstrate different syntactic properties in English (and Generative Grammar generally aims at purely scientific, objective syntactic description; for certain, it doesn't multiply entities beyond necessity).
    However, I doubt it's really relevant for this particular dioscussion. :)
     
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