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What is the head of a phrase?

 

Definition
 

The head of a phrase is the element that determines the syntactic function of the whole phrase.

Example (English)
 

In a noun phrase, the head is the noun that refers to the same entity that the whole phrase refers to, such as:

 

'hat' in 'the man in the brown suit’s hat'

 
Note:

The head of an English noun phrase usually comes after the dependents (the non-head elements in the phrase).


Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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