Noun Phrases for English Language Learners

This is the second of two courses designed to be simple to learn English for Chinese students.

This article explains noun phrases and their modifiers including articles, adjectives and prepositions in prepositional phrases.

Noun Phrase worksheets

The noun phrase lessons included the  1. prepositions and noun phrases, and, 2. the noun phrase and advanced noun phrase exercises. Here are the questions, the solutions will be included soon. The preposition and noun phrase worksheet, and the noun phrase and advanced noun phrase worksheet (click to download the pdf).


Sentences in English have a S-V-O structure


  • John
  • He
  • A woman


  • played with
  • was sleeping in
  • is watching


  • the ball
  • the bed
  • TV
  • Subject – is doing something (the verb)
  • Object – (verb) is doing to this
  • The boy kicked the ball
  • The boy (S) kicked (V) the ball (O)
  • nouns – boy, ball   verb – kicked

What are Noun Phrases

A noun phrase is a group of words related to a noun – The big red ball rolled down the hill

Noun phrases can include: articles (the) – adjectives (big, red) – nouns (ball), but do not include the verb – The big red ball rolled down the hill

These are the noun phrases

  • Article + noun (the boy, the ball, a boy, a ball, an artist, an apple)
  • Adjective + noun (small boy, new ball)
  • Article + adjective + noun (the small boy, a new ball)
  • Article + adjective + adjective + noun
    • the small Indian boy
    • a big, new ball


A noun phrase consists of a noun and its modifiers. Modifiers include articles, adjectives, and other elements that provide more information about the noun.

  • The happy cat
  • Two delicious slices of pizza

The boy kicked the ball – ‘the’ is used as a modifier. A modifier for the noun ‘boy’ and the noun ‘ball’.

add a modifier (adjective) to complete these sentences
  1. The _____naughty_________ child was disruptive at the restaurant.
  2. The _____________________ horse galloped around the track.
  3. I took the ball from the _________________________ child.
  4. We walked to the ______________________ farm on the weekend.
  5. The _______________________ park was open until the afternoon.

Example answers: 1. naughty, 2. valuable, 3. cheeky, 4. local, 5. public

Exercise #1

underline the noun phrases

  1. The teacher helps students with their homework.
  2. A cat sleeps on the windowsill.
  3. The children play in the playground.
  4. A cook prepares delicious meals in the restaurant.
  5. A car waits at the traffic light.
  6. A girl dances in the park.
  7. A dog greets visitors at the front door.

Exercise #2

order the noun phrases

  1. mountains the snowy are busy this time of the year
  2. I hope you had happy a Christmas.
  3. Don’t touch boiling the pot.
  4. table table the tennis is now available.
  5. Can you afford tickets the train expensive?
  6. I used to go to work on old an bicycle.
  7. We enjoyed decorating tree Christmas the beautiful

Prepositions and Noun Phrases

prepositions help answer questions like “where,” “when,” and “how.“

  • where is the cat?

The cat is on the roof

  • where is the book?

The book is on the shelf

  • “The cat on the mat.”
  • “The book in the bag.”
  • “The sun above the clouds.”
  • “The ball under the chair.”
  • “The flower beside the vase.”
  • “The car between the trees.”
  • “The cup on the table.”
  • “The bird in the sky.”
  • “The fish under the water.”
  • “The clock above the door.”


  1. We have a meeting at 10 AM.
  2. The concert starts at 7 PM.
  3. I usually have lunch around noon.


  1. The children played in the playground.
  2. The cat is hiding under the table.
  3. We had a picnic by the river.


  1. The hikers walked toward the mountain.
  2. The arrow points to the left.
  3. She looked across the street before crossing.


  1. The cat is next to the dog.
  2. The brothers stood beside each other.
  3. We sat between Tom and Emily during the movie.

Exercise #1

insert the preposition

  1. The picture is __________ the wall.
  2. The computer is __________ the desk.
  3. The park is __________ our house.
  4. The cat is __________ the sofa.
  5. The coffee shop is __________ the street from the office.
  6. The supermarket is __________ the bank and the library.
  7. The playground is __________ the school building.

Exercise #2

constructing noun phrases in or on?

  1. The students like to study __________ the library on campus.
  2. The chef is cooking __________ the kitchen with stainless steel appliances.
  3. The family enjoys picnics __________ the weekends at the nearby park.
  4. The cat likes to sleep __________ the warm sunlight on the windowsill.
  5. Our team practices soccer __________ the large field behind the school.
  6. The old bookstore is located __________ the historic downtown area.
  7. We planted flowers __________ the small garden near the front porch.

Preposition and Noun Phrase Exercises

Exercise #1

constructing noun phrases in or on?

1.The cat is __________ the roof.

2.The book is __________ the shelf.

3.We play games __________ the park.

4.The ball is __________ the box.

5.The flowers are __________ the vase.

6.The sun is __________ the sky.

7.The pencil is __________ the desk.

Exercise #2

constructing noun phrases with the words below

above  across  at    for  near  within  up

  1. The plane flew __________ the clouds.
  2. The restaurant is famous __________ its delicious desserts.
  3. She walked __________ the street to the other side.
  4. The treasure is hidden __________ the ancient castle.
  5. We waited for the bus __________ the bus stop.
  6. The hiking trail leads __________ the mountain.
  7. The bakery is located __________ the busy intersection.

Exercise #3

Choose the correct preposition to complete the sentences.

1. The restaurant is located __________ the corner.

  • a) in     b) at   c) on

2. We have a meeting __________ 2 PM.

  • a) on   b) at    c) in

3. The movie starts __________ 7 PM.

  • a) in    b) at   c) on

4. She stood __________ the bus stop.

  • a) on    b) at    c) by

5. The cat is sleeping __________ the bed.

  • a) on    b) at    c) in

6. They live __________ the third floor.

  • a) on    b) at    c) in

7. The gift is __________ the table.

  • a) on    b) at    c) in


If you want to learn more about nouns visit the nouns page, or visit the parts of speech page.

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