2

The reason is that state banks are too important a tool for the government.

Do the words in bold form a noun phrase?

2

The portion of the sentence in question is similar to the following:

[ a tool ]NP that is [ too important [ for the government ]PP ]AdjP

But in your sentence, the adjective phrase too important modifies a tool directly. It appears in attributive position, directly before the noun it modifies. Perhaps surprisingly, this separates the adjective from its PP complement, for the government.

An adjective modified by enough or to can be separated from its complement when the following conditions are met:

  1. It takes a PP complement (like for the government).
  2. It modifies an indefinite noun phrase (such as a tool).

In these conditions, the noun phrase can appear between the adjective and its complement. Here's an example adapted from COCA:

If a private company is run on the basis of maximizing profits, military protection could be
bought at [ [ high enough ]AdjP [ a price ]NP [ to turn our forces against us ]PP ]NP .

In this sentence:

  1. The PP to turn our forces against us is the complement of the AdjP high enough.
  2. This AdjP high enough modifies the indefinite NP a price.
  3. All together, high enough a price to turn our forces against us forms a larger NP.

Your example is similar:

The reason is that state banks are [ [ too important ]AdjP [ a tool ]NP [ for the government ]PP ]NP .

In this sentence:

  1. The PP for the government is the complement of the AdjP too important.
  2. This AdjP too important modifies the indefinite NP a tool.
  3. All together, too important a tool for the government forms a larger NP.

So no, it is not a noun phrase. But if you include the following words, it is.


  NP    noun phrase
  PP    preposition phrase
  AdjP   adjective phrase

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