What Are Noun Modifiers?
Noun modifiers (also known as noun adjuncts, attributive nouns, qualifying nouns, or apposite nouns), are nouns that are used to modify another noun. Modifiers provide additional information about their following noun.
Why Do We Use a Noun Modifier?
1. Noun modifiers are used attributively, meaning they are placed before the noun they modify in order to provide additional meaning. This is often achieved by using a noun as an adjective before the noun it modifies. For example:
2. Noun modifiers can help create concise phrases. They are often used to provide a brief and precise description for a noun. Check out some examples:
I want a kind of soup that has chicken in it. → I want
I'm looking for a piece of ground to park the cars. → I'm looking for a
Modifiers: Singular or Plural?
In most cases, the noun used as a modifier is singular. Take a look at some examples:
I'll meet you outside the
Plural-Only Nouns as Modifiers
Some nouns, such as 'pants,' 'sleeves,' 'glasses,' 'trousers,' and others, are typically used in their plural form. However, when used as a modifier for another noun, they are used in singular form. Check out the examples:
When a noun modifier is used with a number or a related expression, the noun is singular and a hyphen is typically added. This is common when using measurements, age, or value as noun modifiers.
I sat down on the
Let's take a
At first it was a
What Are Noun Modifiers Used for?
1. Indicating Parts of a Noun
Noun modifiers are commonly used to indicate that one thing is a part of or belongs to something else. Possessive nouns should be
Another way to indicate that something is a part of a whole is to use the preposition 'of' to create a noun phrase. However, this is less common than using noun modifiers. For example:
the car door = the door
2. Indicating What a Noun Is Made of
Noun modifiers can be used to indicate the material or the origin/source of their following noun. For example:
Another way of indicating the material of something is using the preposition 'of.' For example:
paper table = table
3. Indicating What a Noun is Used for
Noun modifiers can be used to indicate the function of a noun. In this case, the modifier describes the function and the head noun represents the object being described. Check out the examples:
I'll buy new
Here, the 'shoes' (object) are used to play 'tennis' (function).
I like to work in a
In this example, the 'store' is used to sell 'books.'
Another way of indicating the function of something is using the preposition for. Take a look:
tennis shoes = shoes
4. Indicating Age and Length of a Noun
Noun modifiers can also be used to indicate the age or length of the head noun. In this case, a hyphen is often inserted between the parts of the noun modifier to indicate that they are being used together as a single phrase. Pay attention to the example:
The boss had a
My sister has a
Compound Noun Modifiers
Sometimes a compound noun modifies another noun and is used as the noun modifier for another noun.
Robert is a
- part of something