Grammar in EAP

Premodification

Structure of nominal groups

A typical nominal group is structured in the following way:

determiner

premodifier

head

postmodifier

a

complicated

solution

to the problem

 

Nouns (which themselves can be nominalisations) can be premodified or postmodified (qualified):

premodifier + noun

adjective - the constitutional aspects

ed-participle - balanced budget, from the confused events of 19-24 August, the emitted light

ing-participle - growing problem, one striking feature of the years 1929-31, existing structures

noun - market forces, cabinet appointments

Epithets can include - in order:

attitudinal adjectives - beautiful, ugly, marvellous

size - tall, long

age - young, old

shape - square, circular

colour - black, blue, green

Classifiers can include - in order:

origin - Persian, German

substance - leather, steel

purpose - medical, gardening

Can you find an academic equivalent of "a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife" (Forsyth, 2013).

Exercises

Exercise: Grammar: Nominal Group  - Order of Modifiers

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