Noun Phrases For KS2

Cheryl Freedman
Dec 12, 2023 By Cheryl Freedman
Originally Published on Jul 16, 2020
Mum helping daughter with noun phrases for KS2

If you're a parent who wants to consolidate your K2S child's understanding of noun phrases, you're in the right place. Our simple guide is a great home learning resource you can use for primary school-aged kids, and hopefully, you'll learn something along the way, too.

Children in Year 2 and above at primary school need to understand what noun phrases are, so we've put together the following lesson to help you figure them out, and stop scratching your head as a parent.

What Is A Noun Phrase?

You might already know that nouns are naming words. They are used to describe a person, thing or place. A simple example of a noun would be 'dog' or 'car'. (Proper nouns are specific, named examples of these things, so if your dog is called Buster, then Buster is the proper noun.)

A noun phrase is a short sequence of one or more word that includes a noun and a modifier, such as 'a' or 'the'. A  phrase won't contain a verb, however.

A simple noun phrase might be 'the cat', 'a man', 'this table' or 'my brother'.

What Are Some Expanded Noun Phrases Examples?

Your primary school child will need to understand how to use expanded noun phrases, particularly those in Year 4 and above.

Expanded noun phrases are ones that contain additional describing words, or adjectives.

So if your noun phrase is 'the cat', then an expanded phrase might be 'the brown cat'. Here, 'cat' is the noun and 'brown' is the describing word.

Expanded noun phrases can also contain more than one describing word, which will be separated by a comma.

For example: 'the big, brown, furry cat' or 'the sad, small, white mouse.'

In simple terms, expanded noun phrases give you a bit more information about the noun. A good way to think of them is as a way of making a sentence more interesting to read, and for students to write.

Think About Adjectives

Mum and daughter finding noun phrases for ks2

Ask your child to try and come up with some examples of expanded noun phrases in a sentence.

Also, get them to think carefully about the adjectives they are writing. Ask them to search for words that convey meaning in a simple, precise way, and avoid repetition.

For example, the 'grey, shy mouse' gives us valuable extra information. But if we write a sentence about a 'small, tiny mouse', small and tiny mean the same thing, and most of us already know that mice are small.

More Complex Phrases

A more complex noun phrase might be 'the big, old house on the corner'. 'On the corner' offers extra information, describing the position of the house. Another more complex noun phrase might be 'the woman wearing the green hat'. 'Wearing the green hat' is an example of a 'prepositional phrase'.

Resources To Help With Teaching Noun Phrases KS2

Looking for ways of teaching primary kids exactly what an expanded noun phrase is?

You can give your kids a helping hand by making learning more fun and interesting for them in these ways:


Write out a series of sentences and ask your child to underline the expanded noun phrase in them using a bright marker.

For example:

The red parrot flew through the trees.

Lizzie reached for the sour sweets on the top shelf.

At the bottom of the ocean, the yellow octopus hid in a shipwreck.

Use Pictures:

Children looking at noun phrases for ks2 pictures on their tablet

You could also show your child some pictures cut out from magazines, and ask them to write a sentence about what they can see, eg a blue fish, a happy dog. Perhaps they could come up with a whole storyline, too.

Mix And Match:

Another option is to write down different words on strips of card and cut them up, then ask your primary-aged child to arrange them in sentences. Get them to search for different kinds of describing words, eg size, colour, mood, numbers and so on.

You can also use this exercise to help expand your primary-aged child's vocabulary, and test their spelling skills, too.

If the sentence includes commas to separate a list of adjectives, don't forget to cut these out as well.

A Couple Of Notes For Kids And Parents

Mother and daughter discovering noun phrases for ks2 together

Sometimes expanded noun phrases are referred to as expanding noun phrases, but the correct term is the former.

What Year 2 and Year 3 primary school-aged children are expected to understand is different to Year 4 children. Ask your primary school year teacher to explain the expectations, if you are not sure. They may have additional resources they can offer to help you.

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Written by Cheryl Freedman

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Cheryl Freedman

Based in London, Cheryl has a love for culture, nature, and good food. As a mother of two young children, she regularly takes them on fun family trips to museums, art galleries, theaters, and city parks, all while nurturing their love for the arts and the outdoors.

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