Phrases in English Grammar

Phrases in English Grammar

“A phrase is called as a group of related words which hasn't got both subject and verb”

A phrase is a part of a sentence and a group of words (in a sentence) that does not contain both subject and verb, and does not show a complete meaning.

        He is standing near a wall.

The part of above sentence “near a wall” is a phrase because it does not have subject and verb, and does not show a complete meaning.

A phrase does not include both subject and verb at a same time and does not make a complete sense, hence a phrase cannot stand as a sentence on its own. 

If a group of words includes both subject and verb then it becomes a clause, so the difference in a clause and a phrase is that a clause contains subject and verb but a phrase does not contain subject and verb.

Here are some examples of phrase.

  • He is laughing at a joker.
  • She is making tea for the guests.
  • I saw a girl with hazel eyes.
  • He always behaves in a rude way.
  • The boy in the red shirt is my friend.
  • The boy, with a trophy in his hand, won a prize.

A sentence may consist of one or more phrases.
For example, The boy in the red shirt behaves in a rude way.

A phrase functions as a noun, adverb, or adjective in a sentence, therefore a phrase is also defined as “a group of words (without a subject and a verb), that functions as a single part of speech, in a sentence.”

         He is wearing a nice blue shirt.                   (as a noun/object)
         The people at the party were dancing.       (as a noun/subject)
         The man in the room is my father.               (as adjective, describes noun man)
         She gave me a glass full of juice.               (as adjective, describes noun glass)
         He always behaves in a rude way.              (as adverb, describes verb behave)
         He returned in a short while.                       (as adverb, describes verb return)

On the basis of their functions and constructions, phrases are divided into various types, for example, noun phrase, verb phrase, adverb phrase, adjective phrase, appositive phrase, infinite phrase, participle phrase and gerund phrase.

See also

Difference between phrase and clause

Clauses in English Grammar

Types of clause

Types of subordinate clause

Types of phrase

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