Phrases and Clauses

For the past week, we’ve been going over the parts of a sentence. In today’s post we are going over how to arrange them to make phrases and clauses, and I swear this is the last step before we make a sentence.


A phrase is a group of words that doesn’t have both a subject and verb, and come in four forms.

Noun phrases are phrases that are made up of nouns and at least one modifier. [Noun + Modifier (Adjective or Adverb) = Noun Phrase]

Verb phrases are phrases that are made of two verbs. One main verb and then an auxiliary verb. [Main Verb + Auxiliary Verb = Verb Phrase]

A verbal phrase is different than a verb phrase since it is used as another part of speech. If it is used as an adjective, it’s a participle. It is an infinitive if it is used like other parts of speech like nouns, adjectives, and adverbs that begin with the word to.

Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition and then end with a noun of some sort, and can function as an adjective; adverb; or a noun.

preposition is a word used to connect a noun or pronoun to another word normally by being before the noun that is being connected.


A group of words that contain a subject and a verb is called a clause and this is what most of our sentences are comprised of. As we all know they come in two types:

dependent clause cannot function on its’ own as it relies upon an independent clause to make sense. This type of clause comes in many forms dependent upon what it does to the sentence.

Adjective clauses modifies the noun in the sentence by following it.

Adverb clauses modifies a verb, adverb, adjective, or verbal phrase and begins with a conjunction. They can be put anywhere in the sentence as long as you separate them using commas.

Noun clauses  are pretty much how they sound. They are dependent clauses that functions as a noun on its own. It is possible to use a noun clause as a subject within a sentence, as long as you begin them with a pronoun.

Elliptical clauses are the odd man out. Essentially they are grammatically incomplete but what is missing is still implied so technically they are grammatically correct.

Finally an independent clause  is a full complete sentence on its’ own. It has a subject and verb, and makes sense.

And that is it for this week! Phew! I have a really hard time writing about grammar to make it seem interesting, and knowing that I probably have written these rather robotic sounding. I do hope that this clears up some of the basics of speech. If you want to know where I’m getting my information from, I’m using Random House’s Webster’s Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation. I’ve been referring to it while outlining these posts.

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