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# A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers

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A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2012, 14:45
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Hi folks,

NOUN PHRASE

In our article “Noun modifiers can modify slightly far away nouns”, we say that the noun modifiers if preceded by a noun phrase can modify the head of the noun phrase. Through this article we will understand what these noun phrases and noun modifiers are so that we can quickly identify them and ascertain their roles in modification.

So let’s first begin with noun phrases. Now even before we start with noun phrase, let us quickly take a look at the definition of noun.

NOUN – A noun is word used to show a place, a person, a thing, or an idea (abstract noun).

Now let’s understand what a noun phrase is.
NOUN PHRASE - A noun phrase is a group of words that consists of a noun and a modifier that modifies that noun. Study the table for examples:

STRUCTURE OF NOUN PHRASE

In the above three examples, we see that the first and the second examples starts with a modifier first followed by the noun, whereas the second example starts with the noun followed by a modifier. So, in a noun phrase, the modifier can be placed either after or before the noun it refers to. A noun phrase can start with either a noun or a noun modifier.

Following are the types of modifiers that come before the noun to make a noun phrase:

Following are the examples of the modifiers that come after the noun in a noun phrase:

In rare occasions, we do see a noun phrase that starts with a pronoun and is followed by a modifier modifying that pronoun:

NOUN MODIFIERS

Now that we know about the noun phrases, we must also know about what all can classify as noun modifiers that can modify a noun phrase, to be more precise the head of the noun phrase.

As the name suggests, noun modifiers are the modifiers that modify noun entities. These noun entities can be a one-word noun or a noun phrase. Since noun modifiers modify noun entities, they must be placed as close to the entity that they modify as possible to keep the meaning of the sentence logical and clear.

Following are the kinds of noun modifiers:

For an example of verb-ing modifier, refer to the OG examples GMAT Prep example 3 in the article “Noun modifiers can modify slightly far away nouns”.

Thanks.
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Noun Phrase & Noun Modifiers.docx [24.07 KiB]

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Last edited by egmat on 31 Jul 2013, 13:48, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2012, 12:52
Such a great post.. Thank you so much
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2012, 05:42
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Hello
I just signed up with e-gmat today for Sectence correction
I took my diagnostic and scored 100%
but i did not have time to review. Now that i am in my dashboard again, its not letting me to review the questions and rather asking me to take it again
could you tell me what to do here?
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2012, 09:25
Dear Souvik,

Welcome to e-GMAT. I just responded to your query. Please reach out to us at rajat@e-gmat.com or Shraddha@e-gmat.com if you have any other questions.

Regards,

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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2012, 09:29
Hey Rajat,
Could you please help me out with a question that was answered by egmat a couple of weeks ago as a part of its write-ups.
http://gmatclub.com/forum/a-little-help-here-136569.html
Much appreciated.
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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01 Aug 2012, 08:25
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souvik101990 wrote:
Joachim Raff and Giacomo Meyerbeer are examples of the kind of composer who receives popular acclaim while living, often goes into decline after death, and never regains popularity again.
A. often goes into decline after death, and never regains popularity again
B. whose reputation declines after death and never regains its status again
C. but whose reputation declines after death and never regains its former status
D. who declines in reputation after death and who never regained popularity again
E. then has declined in reputation after death and never regained popularity

so if the correct statement becomes
Joachim Raff and Giacomo Meyerbeer are examples of the kind of composer who receives popular acclaim while living, but whose reputation declines after death and never regains its former status.
As far as i remember a rule says
independent clause, dependent clause -- correct construction
independent clause, independent clause --NOT correct
independent clause, FOR/AND/NOT/BUT/OR/YET/SO independent clause -- Correct construction
However in the corrected sentence we find
Independent Clause, BUT dependent clause.
Isnt this violating the rule?

Souvik,

First of all you are absolutely correct that the typically Comma + FANBOYS construction is used to connect TWO independent clauses. Secondly, you are correct in identifying that the second clause in the correct sentence is NOT an INDEPENDENT CLAUSE.

So why the disconnect between this "RULE" and the "Official Answer".
Because - this rule is more of a standard practice than a hard and fast rule. When I say hard and fast rule, I mean the rules such as SV must always agree in number, which relative pronoun modifiers should modify nouns or pronouns and not verbs or clauses, etc.
Just take a step back and understand why is it we use punctuation - we use punctuation so that the sentence is readable. In oral communication, we punctuate by varying pauses. In written communicates, we punctuate by using punctuation marks. For this purpose there are some general guidelines in English language that we should follow but at times there may be sentences in which we do not need any punctuation at all and in some other sentences we may need to punctuate even if the sentence does not technically break into independent clauses. (This sentence is an example of the sentence that is overly complex and is not punctuated well).

Now lets take a look at a few example sentences - all of which are CORRECT.

IC - marked in Blue
Phrases - marked in Pink
Punctuation - Marked in GREEN
1: Tom teaches in high school and attends part time Master's program.
2: During the week Tom teaches in school, and on the weekend he works as a freelance tutor.

Sentences 1 and 2 follow typical construction. No issues here at all.

3: During the week Tom teaches in school and on the weekend he works as a freelance tutor.

Sentence 3 does not use a comma to connect two independent clauses. Now this is fine since the two clauses are relatively short and the structure of both clauses is very similar. In fact there is no readability issue with this sentence without punctuation. So we can drop the comma in sentences such as these.

4. Tom teaches in high school in the suburban area on the eastern coast of Mississippi river during the weekdays so that he can financially support his family, and attends part time Master's program during the weekend so that he can accomplish his lifelong dream of getting a Master's degree.

Sentence 4 uses a comma even though what follows comma + and is not an independent clause. Now in this sentence we definitely need the comma to separate out the two portions of the sentences so that the intended meaning can be communicated in the first read of sentence itself. If comma will not be used then we may need to re-read the sentence to make sense out of it.

Now I am sure you will be thinking "so when do I know if I have to use comma + FANBOYS? How do I eliminate choices based on this?"

The answer is - You should not eliminate choices just based on the usage of comma + FANBOYS. First of all this punctuation "rule" is actually a GUIDELINE and a VERY IMPORTANT one since it helps you break the sentence down into smaller clauses. Secondly, as we saw in the official question in question and the example sentences, there are cases when we may or may not use comma. So make a note of following:

DO NOT USE PUNCTUATION ERRORS such as COMMA + FANBOYS to ELIMINATE ANSWER CHOICES IN the FIRST OR SECOND ELIMINATIONS. First use grammatical basis and meaning basis and then if you are down to final two choices and have already evaluated these for more deterministic grammar and meaning/logic based errors, then you may use this punctuation "error".

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO PUNCTUATION WHEN IT COMES TO USAGE OF MODIFIERS or CONNECTING ELEMENTS IN LISTS. See this article for more discussion on how to use verb-ing modifiers.

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Payal
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2012, 11:13
egmat wrote:
souvik101990 wrote:
Joachim Raff and Giacomo Meyerbeer are examples of the kind of composer who receives popular acclaim while living, often goes into decline after death, and never regains popularity again.
A. often goes into decline after death, and never regains popularity again
B. whose reputation declines after death and never regains its status again
C. but whose reputation declines after death and never regains its former status
D. who declines in reputation after death and who never regained popularity again
E. then has declined in reputation after death and never regained popularity

so if the correct statement becomes
Joachim Raff and Giacomo Meyerbeer are examples of the kind of composer who receives popular acclaim while living, but whose reputation declines after death and never regains its former status.
As far as i remember a rule says
independent clause, dependent clause -- correct construction
independent clause, independent clause --NOT correct
independent clause, FOR/AND/NOT/BUT/OR/YET/SO independent clause -- Correct construction
However in the corrected sentence we find
Independent Clause, BUT dependent clause.
Isnt this violating the rule?

Souvik,

First of all you are absolutely correct that the typically Comma + FANBOYS construction is used to connect TWO independent clauses. Secondly, you are correct in identifying that the second clause in the correct sentence is NOT an INDEPENDENT CLAUSE.

So why the disconnect between this "RULE" and the "Official Answer".
Because - this rule is more of a standard practice than a hard and fast rule. When I say hard and fast rule, I mean the rules such as SV must always agree in number, which relative pronoun modifiers should modify nouns or pronouns and not verbs or clauses, etc.
Just take a step back and understand why is it we use punctuation - we use punctuation so that the sentence is readable. In oral communication, we punctuate by varying pauses. In written communicates, we punctuate by using punctuation marks. For this purpose there are some general guidelines in English language that we should follow but at times there may be sentences in which we do not need any punctuation at all and in some other sentences we may need to punctuate even if the sentence does not technically break into independent clauses. (This sentence is an example of the sentence that is overly complex and is not punctuated well).

Now lets take a look at a few example sentences - all of which are CORRECT.

IC - marked in Blue
Phrases - marked in Pink
Punctuation - Marked in GREEN
1: Tom teaches in high school and attends part time Master's program.
2: During the week Tom teaches in school, and on the weekend he works as a freelance tutor.

Sentences 1 and 2 follow typical construction. No issues here at all.

3: During the week Tom teaches in school and on the weekend he works as a freelance tutor.

Sentence 3 does not use a comma to connect two independent clauses. Now this is fine since the two clauses are relatively short and the structure of both clauses is very similar. In fact there is no readability issue with this sentence without punctuation. So we can drop the comma in sentences such as these.

4. Tom teaches in high school in the suburban area on the eastern coast of Mississippi river during the weekdays so that he can financially support his family, and attends part time Master's program during the weekend so that he can accomplish his lifelong dream of getting a Master's degree.

Sentence 4 uses a comma even though what follows comma + and is not an independent clause. Now in this sentence we definitely need the comma to separate out the two portions of the sentences so that the intended meaning can be communicated in the first read of sentence itself. If comma will not be used then we may need to re-read the sentence to make sense out of it.

Now I am sure you will be thinking "so when do I know if I have to use comma + FANBOYS? How do I eliminate choices based on this?"

The answer is - You should not eliminate choices just based on the usage of comma + FANBOYS. First of all this punctuation "rule" is actually a GUIDELINE and a VERY IMPORTANT one since it helps you break the sentence down into smaller clauses. Secondly, as we saw in the official question in question and the example sentences, there are cases when we may or may not use comma. So make a note of following:

DO NOT USE PUNCTUATION ERRORS such as COMMA + FANBOYS to ELIMINATE ANSWER CHOICES IN the FIRST OR SECOND ELIMINATIONS. First use grammatical basis and meaning basis and then if you are down to final two choices and have already evaluated these for more deterministic grammar and meaning/logic based errors, then you may use this punctuation "error".

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO PUNCTUATION WHEN IT COMES TO USAGE OF MODIFIERS or CONNECTING ELEMENTS IN LISTS. See this article for more discussion on how to use verb-ing modifiers.

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Payal

Can you guys help me understand the OA of this question with your awesome analysis and explanation.
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2012, 11:23
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2012, 23:19
souvik101990 wrote:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/joachim-raff-and-giacomo-meyerbeer-are-examples-of-the-kind-139350.html

Thanks Souvik for sharing the link for OA and explanation.

@e-GMAT : Awesome analysis guys...This part indeed is a critical one I think.
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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17 Oct 2013, 04:13
Dear Payal,

"the author who wrote the book"

It has a subject - author
It has a verb - wrote

Then why it is not a partial clause but a phrase of the type noun phrase.

My concept has been
Clause- SV Pair
Phrase - No SV Pair, conveys
Am I wrong ? This intermingling of phrase/clause is making me crazy as it it supposed to be building block of a sentence.

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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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11 May 2014, 01:57
ygdrasil24 wrote:
Dear Payal,

"the author who wrote the book"

It has a subject - author
It has a verb - wrote

Then why it is not a partial clause but a phrase of the type noun phrase.

My concept has been
Clause- SV Pair
Phrase - No SV Pair, conveys
Am I wrong ? This intermingling of phrase/clause is making me crazy as it it supposed to be building block of a sentence.

The subject of verb "wrote" is not "author" but relative pronoun "who", which has been used to provide additional detail about the subject of the phrase.
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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27 May 2015, 15:49
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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2016, 12:22
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: A Primer on Noun phrases and Noun modifiers   [#permalink] 09 Jun 2016, 12:22
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