What are Phrases and Clauses in English Grammar? (2021)

Introduction: (what are phrases and clauses?)

The topics which we are going to learn (ie, Phrases and Clauses) are basic concepts in English Grammar. These are closely related to sentences.

Usually the grammar governs the rules of the composition of Clauses, Phrases and Sentences.

So, to learn this topic, first, you need to understand the concept of sentences (Subject and Predicate) because these are formed by the group of words which we will learn in this guide.

Now let us understand what is a Phrase.

What is a Phrase?

A Phrase is a group of words which gives some meaning but not a complete message. It is usually a part of the sentence.

It can also defined as the small parts of the sentence. It doesn’t have both subject and predicate (verb).

For example,

  • to the east
  • a blue dress
  • at six o’clock

We can observe that the above examples gives some meaning to it, but not having complete meaning. There are also no subject and verb in it.

So, inorder to complete the message it is used in sentence like,

  • The Sun rises to the east.
  • She wants to buy a blue dress.
  • We have met at six o’clock.

The Phrases in the sentences are coloured blue in the above examples,

Always remember that a group of Phrases can’t make a complete meaningful sentence.

Now let us read how the Phrases are classified into different types.

Different types of Phrases

Here are the list of phrases that you need to learn.

  1. Noun Phrase
  2. Verb Phrase
  3. Prepositional Phrase
  4. Verbal Phrase
  5. Participle Phrase
  6. Gerund Phrase
  7. Infinitive Phrase
  8. Appositive Phrase
  9. Absolute Phrase

More examples of Phrases

  • in the end
  • the whole night
  • in the sky
  • a bright day
  • finishing today
  • went to start
  • what if
  • may happen
  • to do with
  • has something

What is a Clause?

A Clause is a group of words which contains a subject and a predicate (verb). It can be a part (unit) of the sentence or a complete sentence.

It is also defined as the smallest unit which has a subject and a verb and gives a complete idea.

(Clause = Subject + Verb)

The Subject is coloured red and the verb is coloured blue in the below examples (for the reference).

For example,

  • He ate an apple.
  • I went to school.
  • She teaches English.

In the first example, the subject is “He” and verb is “ate”.

In the second example, the subject is “I” and verb is “went” .

In the third example, the subject is “She” and verb is “teaches” .

Types of Clauses

There are 4 types of Clauses in English Language. Those are,

  1. Dependent clause (or Subordinate Clause)
  2. Independent Clause (or Main Clause)
  3. Adjective (or Relative Clause)
  4. Noun

More examples of Clauses

  • She has a bundle of books.
  • Sita lives in Paris.
  • He had completed his degree.
  • I went to meet him yesterday.
  • He will take the seat for me till I come back.
  • We need to practice more.
  • He went to the office.
  • They have a project plan.
  • We had won the competition.

Phrase vs Clause vs Sentence

Here, we will learn about the main difference between Phrase, Clause and Sentence.

PhraseClauseSentence
It doesn’t express a complete thought.Sometimes it can express a complete thought.It always expresses a complete thought.
It doesn’t have a subject and a predicate.It has a subject and a predicate.It has a subject and a predicate.
It doesn’t start with a capital letter.It starts with a capital letter.It starts with a capital letter.
It doesn’t end with punctuation marks.It ends with punctuation marks.It ends with punctuation marks.
It can’t stand alone.Only Independent Clause can stand alone.It can stand alone always.

Quiz Time! (Test Your Knowledge Here!)

#1. "Sonu is a good boy". Is it a Phrase or Clause?

Answer: Clause. Reason: Because it has both Subject (Sonu) and verb (is) and gives the complete message.

#2. Which of the following always expresses the complete thought?

Answer: Sentence.

#3. A Phrase is a group of words that gives ___________.

Answer: Some meaning.

Reason: A Phrase is a group of words that gives some meaning but not a complete message.

#4. Which type of Clauses can stand alone?

Answer: Independent Clause

Reason: Independent Clause can stand alone.

#5. Which of the following is a Phrase?

Answer: She has to

Reason: It is a phrase because it doesn’t give a complete meaning.

#6. Is "a white kite" Phrase or Clause?

Answer: Phrase.

Reason: It gives some meaning but not a complete message.

For example,

Phrase: a white kite

Sentence: Rahul bought a white kite for tomorrow’s festival.

#7. A Phrase have both Subject and Predicate. Is it true or false?

Answer: False.

Reason: Phrase doesn’t give a complete message, because it doesn’t contain Subject and Verb.

#8. Which of the following option is wrong regarding the topic "Phrase"?

Answer: It starts with a capital letter.

Reason: Phrases don’t start with Capital letter.

#9. Which of the following is not a Clause?

Answer: in the park

Reason: Because it doesn’t covey a complete message.

#10. "A Clause can also be a Sentence". Is it true or false?

Answer: True

Reason: Because a Clause usually has Subject and Verb which makes a complete thought. So, there is a chance of becoming a sentence.

Finish

Results

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Summary: (What are Phrases and Clauses?)

What are phrases and clauses in English Gramar? - English Topper
(What are Phrases and Clauses?)

So, here is an overview of the topic which we have discussed till now.

  • Phrase delivers some meaning or idea but not complete. Whereas Clause can describe a complete idea or message.
  • The phrase doesn’t have a subject and a verb, but a clause can have both.
  • A phrase can’t stand alone, but a Clause can stand alone.

If you are interested to learn more, then you can refer to Wikipedia for the topics Phrases from here and Clause from here.

I hope that you understood the topic What are Phrases and Clauses?. If you still have any doubts, then comment down below and we will respond as soon as possible. Thank You.

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