Let’s become a master of Phrase and Clause 2.0!

phrase

What is a phrase, and what is a clause?

A phrase is a group of words without any subject-verb combination.

A subject-verb combination that makes a group of words is called a clause.

Both clauses and phrases are the building blocks of a sentence. Though they are a group of words, the main difference between them is a subject-verb combination.

Rita is sleeping on the floor.

Here you can see in the first group of words. We can find the subject-verb combination (Rita-subject, sleeping- verb). So we can this is a clause.

While on the other hand, “on the floor”, we can’t find any subject-verb combination, so we can say this is a phrase.

Let’s have another one :

Rahul is talking in the class.

Here on the first group of the word, we can find the subject-verb combination (Rahul-subject + sleeping-verb). So we’ll say this is a clause.

On the other hand, in the group of words “in the class,” we can’t find any subject-verb combination. So we’ll say this is a phrase of this sentence.

What is a Phrase? 

Without a subject-verb combination that makes a group of words is called a phrase. It’s used as a single part of speech that can’t stand alone as a complete sentence.

It gives us some sense but cannot make any complete sense.

Let’s crake the definition into pieces-

  1. A phrase is a group of words.
  2. It’s doesn’t contain a subject-verb combination.

● It May have a subject but not any verb

● May have any verb but not any subject

● May have neither a subject nor a verb

  1. Used as a single part of speech
  2. It can’t stand alone as a complete sentence
  3. As their no subject-verb combination, though it gives some sense, not the absolute sense.

Examples of Phrases

Let’s understand with some examples:

On the table

 See, the phrase, “on the table” is a group of a word. It gives us some idea that it’s something about the table, but it didn’t give us any clear idea. But when we said

The book is on the table.

Now it makes sense.

Let’s have another one:

Under the tree

If we only say “under the table”, we didn’t get any clear idea of what is under the table? Or who is under the table? 

But when we say

The cat is under the table.

Now we can get a clear idea about the sentence. Here “under the table” became the phrase of the sentence.

1. Let’s have few more examples.

2. Children are making noise in the class

3. He is sleeping on the bed

4. Sun was rising over the horizon

5. Reha is sitting at the table.

Now is the concept of phrases is clear to you?

Types of Phrases

TYPES OF PHRASE

Now let’s see how many types of phrases are there.

There are mainly three types of phrases.

  1. Noun phrase
  2. Adjective phrase
  3. Verb phrase

Noun Phrase

A noun phrase is a phrase that acts or works as a noun in a sentence. A noun phrase is there to modify the head noun (the main noun or pronoun) and any dependent words (modifier) before or after the head.

Special information about Sir is given by the word dependent.

ADJECTIVE NOUN

Now let’s see how many ways are there to form a noun phrase.

There are three ways to form a noun phrase-

  1. Pre-modifiers
  2. Post-modifiers
  3. Both pre and post-modifiers

Forming noun phrases using pre-modifiers

In pre- modifiers, we’ve three things

  1. Determiners
  2. Numbers
  3. Adjectives.

In determiners, we’ve four things- 1. Article (a, an, the) 2. Possessive adjectives (my, her, your, their, our etc.), 3. Distributive adjective (this, that, those, these etc.), 4. Quantifiers (some, my, a few, a lot of etc.).

Determiner + Noun

Our friends have bought a house in the village.

Here “our” is the determiner, and “friends” is the noun, and together they formed the noun phrase, “our friends”.

Those houses are costly.

Here “those” is the determiner and “houses” is the noun, and together they formed the noun phrase, “those houses”.

Adjective + Noun

Our closest friends have just bought a house in the village.

Here “closest” is the adjective, and “friends” is a noun, and together they formed the noun phrase, “closest friends”.

Determiner+Number+Adjective+Noun

These two good-looking boys are my cousins

Here “these” is the determiner, “two” is the number, “good-looking” is the adjective and “my cousins” is the noun. 

Forming noun phrases using post- modifiers

In post- modifiers, we have three things- 

1. Prepositional phrases

2. Gerund phrases

3. Infinitive phrases

Prepositional Phrases

 The girl with no tantrums is the best.

Here “with no tantrums” is the noun phrase that’s modifying the noun “girl”.

The person in the black shirt is my friend.

Here “in the black shirt” is the noun phrase, modifying the noun “the person”.

Gerund Phrases

Before talking about gerund phrases, you’ve to know what precisely this gerund phrase is.

A gerund phrase starts with a gerund–ing form of a verb that acts as a noun in a sentence, modifies the noun, and gives more information about the noun.

Let’s have some examples.

The man standing next to you is my brother.

Here the noun “the man” is modified to the phrase “standing next to you”. So we can tell “the man standing next to you” is a noun phrase.

Three Infinitive Phrases

An infinitive phrase starts with an infinitive- ‘to +v1’ that acts as a noun and modifies the head noun.

 He didn’t have any students to teach English.

Here “to teach English” is an infinitive phrase that acts as a noun, modifies the head noun “student”.

So here we can say “students to teach English” is our noun phrase.

[Note: Relative clauses – We also use relative clauses to modify any noun or noun phrase.]

The man who gave me some money died last night.

Here “who gave me money” is a relative clause with the relative pronoun “who”. The phrase “who gave me money” is a relative phrase that gives information about the head noun “the man”.

Forming noun phrases using both pre-modifiers and post-modifiers-

The girl talking with Rohan is my sister.

Here “the girl” is modified, and” talking to Rohan” is post-modifier.

So here, you can see we can form a noun phrase by using both pre-modifier and post-modifier.

Let’s have another one.

A tall guy who can fight

Here “a tall” is pre-modifiers, and “who can fight” is the relative clause that coming after the noun “guy”, whom we called post-modifier.

Adjective Phrase

An adjective phrase is a phrase- a group of words without the subject-verb combination that modifies a noun or a pronoun.

Let’s understand it in a better way with some examples.

  1. The movie was surprisingly good.

Here “surprisingly good” is the adjective phrase giving information about the noun movie by modifying the noun” film”.

Let’s have another one.

  1. She is a highly passionate girl.
  2. Here “highly passionate” is the adjective phrase that gives information about the noun “girl” by modifying it.
  3. Here “highly passionate” is the adjective phrase that provides information about the noun “girl” by changing it.

Verb Phrase 

A verb phrase is nothing but a combination of an action verb and a helping verb (which is also known as an auxiliary verb).

Verbs that show or indicate any action are called action verbs.

Ex: go, cook, study, slap etc.

Helping verbs are the type of verbs that help or support the main verb of a sentence. As I already said, help verbs are also known as Auxiliary verbs.

These types of verbs include some forms like “to be”, “to have”, “to do”.

“To be”-is, am, are, were, is being, am being etc.

“To have”- has, have, had etc.

“To do”- do, does, did

“Moral auxiliary verb”- can, could, might, should, would, will, shall, must, ought to etc.

Now let’s have some examples to get a clear concept-

My mother has cooked food.

In this example, the verb phrase is “has cooked”. “Has” is the helping verb that supports the action verb “cook”. So they together formed a “verb Phrase”.

Did you get an idea about verb phrases? If not, let’s have another example.

He will help me to complete homework.

Here “will help” is the verb phrase. “Will” is the helping verb that supports the action verb “help”.

Now I think you got clear about what the verb phrase is.

Phrase and Idioms

An idiom is a group of words, just like phrases. They are almost alike, but there few differences that make phrases and idioms different. Let’s talk about those differences.

Let’s have some examples to understand better:

When we said once in a blue moon, it’s a phrase. As a phrase, it doesn’t have any meaning. We have to make a sentence to get clarity. But also by “once in a blue moon” doesn’t mean the person we are talking about is a blue moon, but we are talking about that they are rare to see.

So now you can understand the difference between phrases and idioms.

Any idiom can be a phrase, but any phrase can’t be an idiom.

For example, when we said “once in a blue moon”, we can get some symbolic significance though there’s no literal meaning. 

But by the phrase ‘reading a book’, we get neither literal nor metaphorical meaning.

Let’s have some more examples of idioms and their actual meaning to understand better:

  1. Pull someone’ leg – To joke with someone.
  2. Speak of the devil – The person we are just talking about showed up!
  3. Live and learn- Make a mistake.
  4. Break the ice- Making people more comfortable.

I hope you got a clear idea about idioms and similarities or differences with phrases by those examples.

Phrases related to education

While speaking of phrases and idioms, we also used some famous sayings and expressions in our education which doesn’t have any literal meaning without a complete sentence but has a symbolic meaning.

Let’s have some examples:

  1. Copycat: someone who copies the work of others.

(Rohan is a copycat, doesn’t refer that he is a cat, it refers to that he copies someone’s work.)

  1. Play hooky – To skip school
  2. Drop out of school- stop attending school before completed.
  3. Put your thinking cap on- To think severely.

Phrases for kids

We used some phrases for kids while teaching them something. Let’s see what they are:

  1. Stop talking
  2. Don’t shout
  3. Use your mind
  4. Think about
  5. Watch carefully

These are the commonly used phrases and idioms used for kids.

Phrases related to health

Just like in education or case teaching kids, phrases also used while speaking of health and fitness.

Let’s see how they are related or how we use phrases and idioms naturally in the matters of health –

  1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  2. out of shape
  3. At death’s door
  4. Back on one’s feet
  5. Be on the Mend.

They’re the most commonly used phrases in the matter of health.

Inspirational phrases

We used some phrases to inspire that are called inspirational phrases.

Let’s have a look at some inspirational phrases _

  1. “strive to progress, not perfection.”
  2. “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going “- Beverly Sills
  3. “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities.”
  4. “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ’s

Answer – As we already get the idea about phrases and idioms, you can understand how important it is to learn them.
To learn idioms and phrases first, you should listen to them carefully then try to write them down each time you learned one. The most important part is to use them frequently in your talking.

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Categories: English, Phrase

Answer – First, we need to find out the subject and verb of the sentence.

“Ram is diving into the pool.”

Here “Ram” is the subject, and “diving” is the verb. So “Ram is diving” is a clause, and the remains “into the pool,” as this doesn’t make any sense, is the phrase of this sentence.

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Answer – Yes, a phrase can be formed with two words. Ex- “too slowly“, “watch TV”, “very happy” etc.

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Answer – The phrase is a group of words, can make some sense but not the whole meaning.

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Answer – Five examples of phrases –

  1. Rain to stop ( she was waiting for the rain to stop)
  2. On the table (the book is on the table)
  3. To eat dinner ( he was existed to eat dinner)
  4. In the kitchen ( the dinner is in the kitchen)
  5. To be free ( he was so excited to be free from jail)

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Answer – Idioms and phrases are both groups of words. Phrases can’t stand alone without any sentence.
Idioms themselves have some symbolic meanings.

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Answer – A phrase is a group of words having no subject-verb combination.

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