English Grammar

The Basics of English Language

Phrase and Clause





A clause is defined as a group of related words that contains a subject and predicate (verb).
e.g. he came.


A phrase is defined as a group of related words that does not contain a subject and a verb.
e.g. on the table.


Consider the following example.

                He is laughing at a joker.


The above sentence has two parts “he is laughing” and “at a joker”.


The first part of the sentence “he is laughing” is a clause because it has a subject (he) and a predicate (is laughing).

The second part of the sentence “at a joker” is a phrase because it does not contain subject and verb.

The difference  between a clause and a phrase is that a clause consists of both subject and verb, but a phrase lacks a subject and verb.


The underlined part of each of following sentences shows a clause, while the rest part (non-underlined) of each sentence shows a phrase.

         He reached school in time.
         I was standing near a wall.
         They are singing in a loud voice.
         She made tea for the guests.
         He a bought a book for his friend.
         I will meet him in my office.
         You look handsome in this picture.