Scientific Language: Noun Groups

A title for a figure or table packs its meaning into a limited space. It does this by using a language structure called a NOUN GROUP. A noun group is a group of words that has the same function as a noun, that is, it names or identifies a person, place or thing. A title usually consists of a single noun group. Within a noun group, one word is usually central to the meaning of the group and this is called the HEAD NOUN. Other words can occur before and after the head to add to its meaning.

Click on words in the first row to see example.

ClassifierHEAD NOUNPrepositional Phrase

Drag and drop the items into their correct place in the tables to make meaningful titles for a figure or table for the experiment entitled 'Varying the Dietary Intake of Cholesterol May Cause Changes in Plasma Cholesterol Concentration in Middle-Aged Subjects'. You will see a tick when you have made the correct choices.

Title 1
ClassifierHEAD NOUNPrepositional PhrasePrepositional Phrase


on a high cholesterol diet


of subjects

Title 2
HEAD NOUNPrepositional PhrasePrepositional Phrase

on blood cholesterol concentration


of high-and low-cholesterol diets

Title 3
PossesiveClassifierHEAD NOUNPrepositional Phrase



with high and low cholesterol diets


Read the introduction and study design for the glycogen experiment and then rank the titles for the figure showing the results from 1 to 5 where 1 = most appropriate. When you have made your choices, click the Submit button and you will get your feedback.

Is muscle glycogen metabolism affected by fitness?

Glycogen, a polymer of glucose, is stored in muscles as a ready source of fuel during exercise. This study investigates the relationship between fitness and the rate of muscle glycogen consumption during exercise.

Study Design: Eight subjects (19-22 years), 4 male and 4 female, with varying levels of fitness were chosen. Fitness levels were assessed by measuring the O2 consumption during a 5 min period of maximum sustainable exercise. Subjects then cycled for 2 h; muscle biopsies were taken at 30 min intervals during the exercise period.

a. Glycogen depletion rates versus oxygen consumption

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b. Figure 1. The rate of glycogen depletion plotted against oxygen consumption.

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c. Figure 1. A comparison of the rate of glycogen depletion with the level of fitness.

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d. Figure 1. Glycogen depletion rates as a function of fitness (oxygen consumption).

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e. Figure 1. A decrease in glycogen depletion is associated with an increase in oxygen consumption.

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