Tagged: nominal groups

‘That’ and ‘V3’ in noun phrases

😦 The table shows the percentage of money that allocated by people in different countries for different reasons in 2002.

flag-of-indonesia Here an Indonesian student has made a noun phrase based on ‘yang di alokasikan’. A grammar error has affected her IELTS score, but this could have been avoided using more sophisticated – and easy-to-learn – vocabulary.

Improved grammar

🙂 The table shows the percentage of money that was allocated by people in different countries for different reasons in 2002.

Here I added ‘to be’ before the V3 to produce a correct passive. However, a native speaker would probably choose more sophisticated vocabulary:

Improved vocabulary

🙂 The table shows the percentage of money allocated by people in different countries for different reasons in 2002.

Here, instead of the ugly passive structure, which Indonesians always get wrong, I made a nominal group that contains the following elements all joined together:

  • the percentage..
  • of money (preposition phrase)
  • allocated by people (V3 phrase)
  • in different countries (preposition phrase)
  • for different reasons (preposition phrase)
  • in 2012 (preposition phrase)

Other elements are possible in nominal groups, but these are common. I will come back to nominal groups in future posts (for example here) as problems experienced by my current class arise.

Note that there is no ‘that’ in the V3 phrase (Indonesian ‘yang’). And BTW ‘V3 phrase’ is not its official name, but it’s much easier to remember than the official name (which I will keep secret for now..).

@eapguru

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Noun phrase ‘__ed’ucation

😦 Consequently, people lived in remote areas sometimes have limited access to learning resources.

Here the student wants to post-modify the noun ‘people’ using a verb – ‘live’. When post-modifying nouns using verbs, one option is to use a non-finite verb. Don’t worry you don’t need to google ‘non-finite’ – that’s just a fancy name for the following little group of verb forms:

  • __ing (sometimes called present participle)
  • __ed (sometimes called past participle)
  • to + v1

If you’re using __ed to extend or ‘post-modify’ a noun, then you’re really using a kind of shortened relative clause:

😦 “..people who are lived in remote areas..”

In this case you end up with a passive construction (to be + V3), which obviously doesn’t make sense here because a thing or a person cannot ‘be lived’.

‘Live’ is an intransitive verb – it doesn’t take an object. But no worries, we can easily re-write the noun phrase with a relative clause and a transitive verb so that it makes sense:

🙂 “..people who are situated in remote areas..”

Native speakers will nearly always shorten this relative clause to leave the non-finite verb only:

🙂 “..people situated in remote areas..”

Finally, the noun phrase can now be incorporated into the sentence like this:

🙂 Consequently, people situated in remote areas sometimes have limited access to learning resources.

Alternatively we could stick with ‘live’ but use __ing:

🙂 Consequently, people living in remote areas sometimes have limited access to learning resources.

In this case we are shortening another relative clause but we don’t have to consider whether or not the verb is transitive:

🙂 “..people who are living in remote areas..”

When post-modifying nouns, native speakers generally use the shortened version without the relative pronoun.


To end this post, it’s worth putting non-finite verbs in context with other common methods for post-modifying nouns:

preposition phrases relative clauses __ing, __ed, to+V1 time expressions

Sometimes these are interchangeable:

the number of plastic bags used by consumers in 2015 in America
the number of plastic bags used in America by consumers in 2015

And I’ll throw in a relative clause just to show off:

the number of plastic bags used by consumers in 2015 in America which are not made of biodegradable material

Notice that the __ed phrase also has a preposition phrase embedded into it:

used by consumers
used in America

And notice that time expressions are often also preposition phrases:

in 2015
on Tuesday
after I finished work
etc.

I hope all of that helps and look forward to hearing your feedback!

@eapguru

 

 

Happy people – ‘people’ pre-modified using ‘happy’
People everywhere – ‘people post-modified with ‘everywhere’
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First the problem of no verb.

😦 First of all, the problem of humans using too many of the world’s resources.

Me: Obviously this is no good because there’s no verb.
You: What about ‘using’? Isn’t that a verb?
Me: Sometimes yes, but here it functions as a noun modifier, not as a verb. It’s telling you something about the noun ‘humans’. It’s part of one long noun phrase: ‘the problem of humans using too many of the world’s resources. If you want to you can use this long noun phrase as a subject:

🙂 First of all, the problem of humans using too many of the world’s resources is a difficult problem to solve.

..or as an object:

🙂 The government is striving to solve the problem of humans using too many of the world’s resources.

 

In future make sure your sentence has at least a subject and a verb.

@eapguru

Age in Task 1 writing

a4c-age-groups

😦 People in the 14-17 group of age were most affected by the changes.

I know, this seems to make sense, and your meaning is clear, but if you want a high score for vocabulary you need to use better collocation inside your noun phrases:

🙂 People in the 14-17 age group were most affected by the changes.

The following are all possible. Unfortunately you just have to memorise them. Try to use them as soon as possible in your writing practice and soon they will become automatic.

a person who is 49 years of age
a person who is 49 years old
a person who is 49
a 49 year-old person
a 49 year-old

More often in IELTS, ‘person’ is plural (= ‘people’), and so these noun phrases are also possible:

49 year-olds
49 year-old people
people in the 50-60 age group
people aged between 50 and 60
people aged 50-60
people (who are) 50-60 years old

Of course we could be more specific about ‘person’ or ‘people’:

A 49 year-old English teacher
English teachers in the 49-59 age group

@eapguru