Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Head Of A Phrase


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



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).

Glossary Hierarchy