Noun phrases: complements
Complements come immediately after the head in a noun phrase. They are prepositional phrases or clauses which are necessary to complete the meaning of the noun. Without the complement, we wouldn’t understand what the noun was referring to.
A rise in inflation is likely in the coming months.
The idea that schools should control their own finances is not a new one.
The fact that the planet is getting warmer is no longer disputed.
Noun phrases: post modifiers
Postmodifiers come after the head in a noun phrase. They consist of adverb phrases, prepositional phrases and clauses. Postmodifiers give extra or specific information about the noun (e.g. place, possession, identifying features). Unlike complements, they are not necessary to complete the meaning.
Postmodifiers usually come after any complement in the noun phrase.
Noun phrases: complements or postmodifiers?
Complements are necessary to complete the meaning of a noun. Postmodifiers are not necessary; they give extra information about the noun which helps to identify it or locate it in some way. (The complement and the postmodifier are underlined below.)