English Grammar

The Basics of English Language


Phrase

 

  “A phrase is defined as a group of related words that lacks both subject and verb.”

A phrase is a part of a sentence. It is a group of words (within a sentence) that does not contain both subject and verb, and does not express a complete idea.

Example.
        He is standing near a wall.

The part of above sentence “near a wall” is a phrase because it does not contain subject and verb, and does not express a complete idea.

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 include 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 phrases.

       
 He is laughing at a joker.
         She is making tea for the guests.
         I saw a girl with blue eyes.
         He always behaves in a strange way.
         The boy in the red shirt is my cousin.
         The boy, with a book 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 strange way.

A phrase functions as a noun, adverb, or adjective in a sentence, therefore a phrase is also defined as “a group of words (lacking subject and verb), that functions as a single part of speech, in a sentence.”

Examples
         He is wearing a nice read shirt.                   (as a noun/object)
         The people at the party were dancing.       (as a noun/subject)
         The man in the room is our teacher.           (as adjective, modifies noun man)
         She gave me a glass full of water.             (as adjective, modifies noun glass)
         He always behaves in a strange way.        (as adverb, modifies verb behave)
         He returned in a short while.                      (as adverb, modifies verb return)

 

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