Can a Noun Follow a Noun?: 6 Facts You Should Know


In this article we’re going to try and answer the question “Can a noun follow a noun?”

A noun helps us classify and identify people, places and things.

Following are seven facts about nouns functioning as modifiers along with helpful examples that will aid us with a better understanding of the concept.

1.    When can a noun follow a noun?

A noun can follow a noun when the first noun serves as a modifier.

In many cases, some nouns can be attached in front of other nouns and serve as modifiers or even adjectives.

Example- Mary ate chicken soup because she was sick.

  • “Chicken” and “soup”, both are nouns.
  •  However, chicken is used as a descriptor of the kind of soup being consumed.
  •  Hence, the word ‘chicken’ modifies the word ‘soup’.

2.    How can a noun follow another noun?

A noun can follow another noun when the second noun is the head of the noun phrase.

The first noun, immediately preceding the second one, as mentioned above, must serve as a modifier of descriptor of some sort.

Example- We went to the book store.

  • The second part (to the book store) of the above example is classified as a ‘Noun Phrase’.
  •  “Book” and “store”, both are nouns.
  •  However, the word “store” is considered as the ‘head’ of the noun phrase.
  • Therefore, the word “book”, even though a noun, is merely a descriptor of the kind of store at hand.

3.    Can a noun modify a noun?

Yes, as mentioned above, a noun can modify another noun.

Nouns can modify other nouns in just specific cases, but not always.

Example- Do you need anything from the grocery store?

  • “Grocery” and “store”, both are nouns.
  • “Store” is the ‘head’ of the above noun phrase.
  • “Grocery” is the modifier or descriptor of the word “store”.

4.    How can a noun modify a noun?

A noun can modify a noun by serving as a descriptor.

The first noun almost always serves as a descriptor or adjective of sorts to the second noun.

Example- The school board has finally come to a decision.

  • “School” and “board”, both are nouns.
  • The word “school” describes the word “board”.
  • Hence, the noun “school”, modifies the noun “board”.

5.    What can be used before noun?

Many grammatic components can be used before a noun.

A noun can be preceded by verbs, adjectives, numbers, pronouns, articles, determiners and other nouns.

However, more often than not, when these grammatic components are attached before nouns, they automatically serve as descriptors.

So, if a verb is used before a noun, it may be considered a verbal adjective, since it is still describing the noun.

Components like pronouns and numbers, when placed in front of nouns also act as an adjective, modifier or descriptor.

Example- She took her diary, three pens, a crying sister and went to the nearest coffee shop.

  • The pronoun “her” in the term “her diary” serves as a modifier since it describes the state of the noun, herein “diary” as being hers.
  • The number “three” in the term “three pens” serves as a modifier to the noun “pens” since it describes the number of pens the subject took.
  • The verb “crying” in the term “crying sister”, serves as a modifier or verbal adjective to the noun “sister” as it describes the state of the sister.
  • The noun “coffee” in the term “coffee shop”, serves as a modifier to the second noun “shop” as it describes what sort of a shop it is.

6.    Can a noun phrase have two nouns?

No, a noun phrase cannot have two nouns.

A sentence may have two nouns, but a noun phrase can only have one noun as the ‘head’.

Example- Lily went to speak to the college professor.

  • The above sentence has three nouns but just one noun phrase.
  • “Lily went to speak” is a verb phrase as it has a verb “speak” as its head and not the noun “Lily”.
  • “To the college professor” is a noun phrase as the head of this phrase is “professor”.
  • The noun “college” serves as a modifier and descriptor to the noun “professor”.

Hence, one can deduct that the answer to the question “Can a noun follow a noun?” all in all, with a few exceptions, is a YES.

Read more: 19+ Quotation Examples: What,How,When,Where To Use,Structure,Several Facts.

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