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Unit 2. The noun group

Main points

1. Noun groups are used to say which people or things you are talking about. They can be the subject or object of a verb.

Strawberries are very expensive now.

Keith likes strawberries.

A noun group can also be the complement of a link verb such as "be", "become", "feel", or "seem".

She became champion in 1964.

He seemed a nice man.

A noun group can be used after a preposition, and is, often called the object of the preposition.

I saw him in town.

She was very ill for six months.

2. A noun group can be a noun on its own, but it often includes other words. A noun group can have a determiner such as "the" or "a". You put determiners at the beginning of the noun group.

The girls were not in the house.

He was eating an apple.

3. A noun group can include an adjective. You usually put the adjective in front of the noun.

He was using blue ink.

I like living in a big city.

Sometimes you can use another noun in front of the noun.

I like chocolate cake.

She wanted a job in the oil industry.

A noun with 's (apostrophe s) is used in front of another noun to show who or what something belongs to or is connected with.

I held Shella's hand very tightly.

He pressed a button on the ship's radio.

4. A noun group can also have an adverbial, a relative clause, or a "to"-infinitive clause after it, which makes it more precise.

I spoke to a girl in a dark grey dress.

She wrote to the man who employed me.

I was trying to think of a way to slop him.

A common adverbial used after a noun is a prepositional phrase beginning with "of".

He tied the rope to a large block of stone.

The front door of the house was wide open.

I hated the idea of leaving him alone.

Participles and some adjectives can also be used after a noun. See Unit 19 and Unit 29.

She pointed to the three cards lying on the table.

He is the only man available.

5. Numbers come after determiners and before adjectives.

I had to pay a thousand dollars.

Three tall men came out of the shed.

6. A noun group can also be a pronoun. You often use a pronoun when you are referring back to a person or thing that you have already mentioned.

I've got two boys, and they both enjoy playing football.

You also use a pronoun when you do not know who the person or thing is, or do not want to be precise.

Someone is coming to mend it tomorrow.

7. A noun group can refer to one or more people or things. Many nouns have a singular form referring to one person or thing, and a plural form referring to more than one person or thing. See Unit 4.

My dog never bites people.

She likes dogs.

Similarly, different pronouns are used in the singular and in the plural.

I am going home now.

We want more money.

When a singular noun group is the subject, it takes a singular verb. When a plural noun group is the subject, it takes a plural verb.

His son plays football for the school.

Her letters are always very short.

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