Phrases are comprised of one or more words that form a meaningful grammatical unit. They are one of the most important elements of English grammar.
What Are Phrases?
A phrase is comprised of one or more words that form a single part of speech (grammatical unit). If you think of a sentence as a building, phrases are like bricks of that building. They are typically a part of a clause or a sentence.
For example, the expression 'a really cute hamster' is a noun phrase containing the adjective phrase 'really cute.'
Phrases can consist of a single word or a complete sentence.
A phrase is comprised of:
- One head (also called Headword)
- Two or more modifiers
The head of the phrase determines the grammatical nature of the unit, for example, a phrase whose head is a noun is called a noun phrase. The remaining words in a phrase are called the dependents of the head.
There are five main types of phrases in English:
- Noun Phrase (NP)
- Verb Phrase (VP)
- Prepositional Phrase (PP)
- Adjective Phrase (AP)
- Adverb Phrase (AdvP)
the cute hamster →
play piano →
under the table →
very delighted →
too carefully →
Other Types of Phrases
Difference between Clause and Phrase
A phrase does not contain a subject and verb and cannot convey a complete idea. A clause does contain a subject and verb, and it can convey a complete idea.
Unlike clauses, phrases can never stand alone as sentences. Let's take a look at some examples:
shouts very loudly →
That man shouts very loudly →
Clauses contain phrases, and sentences contain clauses.
A noun phrase (NP) is comprised of a noun plus its modifiers. It can be one word or a group of words. A noun phrase can take the position of subject, object, or complement.
Usually, a noun phrase is just a noun or a pronoun.
A verb phrase is comprised of a main verb alone, or a main verb plus a modal and/or auxiliary verbs.
The main verb always comes last in the verb phrase.
Types of Verb Phrases
Based on the type of the head, there are two types of verb phrases:
- Finite Verb Phrases
- Non-finite Verb Phrases
Finite Verb Phrases
In finite verb phrases, the head verb is finite and it is in the present or past form.
Non-finite Verb Phrases
The head verb in 'non-finite verb phrases' is participle, gerund, or infinitive.
A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, the object of that preposition (which can be a noun or a pronoun), and any modifiers of that object.
An adjective phrase is comprised of an adjective plus modifiers that describe a noun or a pronoun.
The head of an adverb phrase is an adverb. Adverb phrases can appear alone or be modified by other words.
I will come
We have two types of phrases:
- grammatical phrases: sentence components
- common phrases: common expressions
Gerund phrases are phrases that include a gerund (-ing + verb) and its modifiers. Gerund phrases act as a noun.
We are looking forward to
Infinitive phrases are phrases that are made up of an infinitive (to + base form of the verb) and its modifiers. For example:
The teacher told the children
Participle phrases are phrases that take on the role of adjectives. Participle phrases are phrases that contain participles and their modifiers.
Appositive phrases are phrases that include an appositive and the noun or pronoun it describes. Appositives are short descriptions that add detail to a noun.
In this article, we have learned about phrases. They are words that are put together with no subjects and verbs. In this case, they cannot have a complete meaning. There are some main phrases and some other ones as follows:
|main phrases||1. noun phrase||2. verb phrase||3. prepositional phrase||4. adjective phrase||5. adverb phrase|
|other types of phrases||1. conjunctional phrase||3. interjectional phrase||5. gerund phrase|
|2. participial phrase||4. infinitive phrase||6. appositive phrase|