Noun phrase= a word or group of words containing a noun and functioning in a sentence as subject, object, or prepositional object.
Noun clause= a dependent clause that acts as a noun.
A noun phrase includes a noun—a person, place, or thing—and the modifiers which distinguish it.
You can find the noun dog in a sentence, for example, but you don't know which canine the writer means until you consider the entire noun phrase: that dog, Aunt Audrey's dog, the dog on the sofa, the neighbor's dog that chases our cat, the dog digging in the new flower bed.
Modifiers can come before or after the noun. Ones that come before might include:
Articles : a dog, the dog
Possessive nouns : Aunt Audrey's dog, the neighbor's dog, the police officer's dog
Possessive pronouns : our dog, her dog, their dog
Adjectives : that dog, the big dog, the spotted dog
Participles : the drooling dog, the barking dog, the well trained dog
Modifiers that come after the noun might include:
Prepositional phrases : a dog on the loose, the dog in the front seat, the dog behind the fence
Adjective clauses : the dog that chases cats, the dog that looks lost, the dog that won the championship
Participle phrases : the dog whining for a treat, the dog clipped at the grooming salon, the dog walked daily
Infinitives : the dog to catch, the dog to train, the dog to adopt
Less frequently, a noun phrase will have a pronoun as its base—a word like we, everybody, etc.—and the modifiers which distinguish it. Read these examples:
We who were green with envy
We = subject pronoun; who were green with envy = modifier.
Someone = indefinite pronoun; intelligent = modifier.
No one important
No one = indefinite pronoun; important = modifier.
A noun clause is a dependent clause that acts as a noun. Noun clauses begin with words such as how, that, what, whatever, when, where, whether, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, and why. Noun clauses can act as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, predicate nominatives, or objects of a preposition.
Noun Clause Examples
Whoever thought of that idea is a genius.
( Whoever thought of that idea is a noun clause. It contains the subject whoever and the verb thought. The clause acts as a subject in the sentence.)
On weekends, we can do whatever we want.
( Whatever we want is a noun clause. It contains the subject we and the verb want. The clause acts as a direct object in the sentence.)
The focus of our work is how we can satisfy customers most effectively.
( How we can satisfy customers most effectively is a noun clause. It contains the subject we and the verb phrase can satisfy. The clause acts as a predicate nominative in the sentence, identifying focus.)
Choose a gift for whomever you want.
( Whomever you want is a noun clause. It contains the subject you and the verb want. The clause acts as an object of the preposition for in the sentence.)
Be sure to send whoever interviewed you a thank-you note.
( Whoever interviewed you is a noun clause. It contains the subject whoever and the verb interviewed. The clause acts as an indirect object in the sentence.)
I’m packing extra snacks for when we get hungry.
( When we get hungry is a noun clause. It contains the subject we and the verb get. The clause acts as an object of the preposition for in the sentence.)