Traditional grammars define nouns as words that refer to people, places, things, and ideas. Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns and noun phrases. Pronoun is a subcategory of noun.
In English grammar, a noun phrase consists of a noun including a pronoun plus any determiners, modifiers, and complements. Nouns and pronouns always function as the head of a noun phrase. Examples of nouns and pronouns as noun phrase heads include the following:
- the puppy (noun)
- an ugly man with half a moustache (noun)
- twelve angry busybodies whom she sent hate mail to (noun)
- somebody to love (pronoun)
- someone special (pronoun)
- he who must not be named (pronoun)
Noun as Noun Phrase Head
Pronoun as Noun Phrase Head
Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.