Glossary: heavy noun phrase shift


A syntactic process by which a noun phrase that is 'heavy' (i.e. long and/or complex) is moved to a position towards the end of a sentence. English has a tendency towards heavy noun phrase shift, and heavy noun phrases often seem easier to understand or interpret when they occur later in a sentence rather than earlier.

Preposing and postposing

As writers and speakers there are many ways in which we can present information to readers or hearers by using different word orders and sentence patterns to highlight different aspects of meaning. This is often referred to as information structuring.

There are many ways we can highlight information. Here we will look at two important ones:


Englicious contains many resources for English language in schools, but the vast majority of them require you to register and log in first. For more information, see What is Englicious?

Englicious (C) Survey of English Usage, UCL, 2012-17 | Supported by the AHRC and EPSRC. | Cookies