Who doesn’t know what a phrase is? A common man may use the word several times During his conversation. But the question is what is a phrase in English grammar? Additionally, it is also important to solve the confusion between the difference between a phrase and claws. In this lesson, we will understand everything we need to about phrases and their various types along with example sentences.
Before you go ahead with this lesson, we suggest you take a look at our previous lessons on active and passive voice. You will also find several other lessons from elementary grammar on vocabulary today.
All About Phrases
A phrase is a group of words that has no subject or no finite verb of its own. A Finite verb is one that is dependent on the subject of the sentence. For example, Attracted by her beauty, he sought her hand. In this sentence, the words in italics form a phrase. It meets the criteria of the definition. There is no defined subject or a finite verb.
As mentioned about a phrase is a group of words that has no definite subject or a finite verb. On the other hand, a Clause is one that does have a subject and verb of its own. Let us understand the difference with the help of an example sentence.
The boy on top of the floor is my brother. (Phrase)
The boy who is on the top floor is my brother. (Clause)
It is evident that the clause has a subject and a verb, while the phrase doesn’t.
A phrase is what comes in use to modify a sentence. They are a group of words that add more
information to the other parts of speech of the sentence such as the noun, pronoun, or the entire sentence altogether.
For example, Rudolf was standing outside the class. The phrase outside the class modifies the
Another one of the salient features is that they could play the role of the subject, object, or even complement the sentence. For example, to obey teachers is our duty. The phrase to obey teachers acts as the subject of the sentence.
Note, that it acts as the subject, but does not contain a subject, giving validation to the definition of we read above.
We suggest you give the previous section a quick recap before we move on to understand the various types of this concept of elementary grammar.
4. How many types are there?
There are four basic types that we need to know. They are:
5. What are Prepositional phrases?
The name Prepositional phrase is indicative of what it entails. Such sentences include a preposition, which is followed by an object. Let’s take a look at an example to understand better. The child hid himself behind the front room. In the above sentence, behind the front room is the Prepositional phrase. The Preposition is the word behind, while the object is the front room.
This category is further divided into the prepositional adjectival phrase and prepositional adverbial phrase. But, let’s keep understanding them in detail for another time.
6. What are Participial phrases?
A sentence that contains a participle followed by an object fall in this type. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that they qualify nouns or pronouns. Say, that’s the same as an adjective. For example, hearing the noise the man came out. The word hearing qualifies the noun, thus, acting as an adjective. When such words are followed with more words, it becomes a phrase (hearing the noise). A participial phrase is further divided into Present Participial and Past Participial.
7. What is an Infinitive Phrase?
Verbs that are not limited or governed by the subject and the time of action are called infinitive verbs. They’re the opposite of finite verbs. For example, Sarah wants to write a book. Since we use the phrase to write, it is clear it isn’t dependent on anything else. These can act as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, or absolutes.
There are two types of infinitive verbs: Bare Infinitive (verbs without using the word to) and To- Infinitives.
8. What are Gerundial Phrases?
Words that made up of a gerund and an object belong to this category. These are verbs that end with “ing.” For example, Dave is reading novels. In this sentence, the word reading is the gerund, and the word novels are the object.
Many times, there is a confusion between a Gerundial phrase and a present participial phrase. It is essential to know that though we write them in the same format, they differ in one major way. Gerunds act as nouns, subject, or the object, whereas, present participial act as adjectives. They qualify the noun or the pronoun.
These two sentences will highlight the difference mentioned above. I saw a dog carrying a piece of meat. This is a present participial phrase since the verb carrying qualifies the noun, the dog. A dog likes carrying a piece of meat. This is a Gerundial phrase since likes act as the object of the sentence.
We hope this lesson was helpful to get a peek into the basics of advanced elementary grammar. Join us for the next article on Clauses.