Phrases with Examples

Phrases with Examples

What Is a Phrase?

A phrase is a group of words that can form a single grammatical unit, that is a unit that takes part in a sentence or a clause.

Let me explain; Unlike a clause that takes a subject and a verb, a phrase does not. Therefore, it cannot have a clear complete thought or idea.

The following examples show the difference between a phrase, a clause, and a single word:

Example (1)

  • Clause – Let’s find a table that gets the sunlight.
  • Phrase – Let’s find a table in the sun.
  • Word – Let’s find a sunny table.

Example (2)

  • Clause – Show Jane your project when she arrives.
  • Phrase – Show Jane your project in the morning.
  • Word – Show Jane your project tomorrow.

Still, confused?

Let’s try a sentence with no phrase and then construct them to have one.

  • Sam eats cookies daily.

So, in this example, the sentence doesn’t have any phrases, because all parts stand on their own as a single word.

  • My uncle Sam eats cookies daily.

Now the sentence contains a phrase, it has three words that function as the subject of the sentence. Notice that phrase has no verb or a subject.

  • My uncle Sam eats cookies during the week.

Now a new phrase has been added to the sentence, it similarly has three words, but it functions as an adverb.

  • My uncle Sam was eating cookies during the week.

We have added a new one, this time it is a two-word phrase that functions as a verb.

  • My uncle Sam was eating chocolate cookies from the bakery during the week.

Now the phrase that we have added has five words and it functions as a direct object in this sentence.

If you make it this far, then you have learned that:

  • A phrase is a group of words.
  • A phrase functions as a single grammatical unit inside a sentence.
  • A phrase does not convey any complete meaning as they don’t contain a verb and a subject.

Types of phrases with examples:

Phrase type Description Example
Adjective phrase A group of words headed by an adjective that changes a noun in a sentence. Victoria was extremely proud of us.
The adjective phrase changes the noun “Victoria”
Adverbial phrase A group of words that functions as an adverb Which modifies the verb. Luckily for us, we arrived just in time.
The adverbial phrase changes the verb “arrived”
Noun phrase A noun phrase is a group of words headed by a noun and its modifiers (e.g., the, a, of them, with her) Singing in the bath relaxes me.
The noun phrase here functions as the subject of the verb “relaxes”
Preposition phrase A proposition phrase is a group of words headed by a proposition. I live near the beach.
Here the preposition phrase function as an adverb of place.
Infinitive phrase An infinitive phrase is the infinitive form of a verb in addition to a compliment and modifier She asks me to dance like no one is watching.

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