Phrases and Clauses - Explore What They Are and How They Differ with Examples

In any language, a sentence can be divided into various parts. Phrases and clauses are one among the divisions that can be done. In this article, you will learn what phrases and clauses are, how they can be used and the difference between them. The article also gives you a number of examples to give you a clearer idea of the topic.

Table of Contents

What is a Phrase? – Meaning and Types

A phrase is a part of a sentence which consists of a group of words that give more information about the subject, action or event in a sentence. A phrase cannot stand on its own and will not convey meaning if separated from the sentence. According to the kind of function it does, it can be classified into various types and they include the following.

What is a Clause? – Meaning and Types

A clause is also a part of a sentence that consists of a subject and a verb, unlike phrases. They can be divided into two main types depending on how they behave in a sentence. The different types of clauses are:

  • Main Clause or Independent Clause
  • Subordinate Clause or Dependent Clause

Difference between Phrases and Clauses

Take a look at the table given below to find out how phrases and clauses differ from each other.

Phrases

Clauses

  • A phrase does not have a subject and predicate.
  • A clause has a subject and a predicate
  • A phrase is not complete, cannot make sense or convey meaning if it stands on its own.
  • In some cases, a clause can look complete, convey meaning and make sense when separated from the sentence.
  • There are five types of phrases namely noun phrase, verb phrase, adverb phrase, adjective phrase and prepositional phrase.
  • There are two types of clauses namely independent clause and dependent clause.
  • Example: There is an unidentified vehicle in front of our house.
  • Example: I am sick, so I am going to see the doctor.

Examples of Phrases and Clauses

To understand how phrases and clauses can be used, take a look at the following sentences.

  • Anu and Teena (noun phrase)
  • Have been searching (verb phrase)
  • Beside the trees (prepositional phrase)
  • Extremely well (adverb phrase)
  • The house on 6th street (noun phrase)
  • As soon as I reach the office (dependent or subordinate clause)
  • I did not bring my umbrella. (independent clause)
  • When the little boy saw his mom (dependent or subordinate clause)
  • Collect your parcel from the courier office. (independent clause)
  • Though we left home early (dependent or subordinate clause)

Check Your Understanding of Phrases and Clauses

Identify the phrases and clauses in the following sentences and state which of them is a phrase and a clause.

1. I completed my project, but I was not satisfied with it.

2. Jacob knew about it; however he kept asking everyone about it.

3. I was waiting at the park.

4. They all sang extremely well.

5. The girls in the black dresses are the ones who won the competition last year.

6. In the meantime, I will help you with your domestic chores.

7. Santana and Brittany are good dancers.

8. When we reach home, we will call you.

9. We were planning our summer vacation.

10. She finally agreed to come with us to the slumber party.

Now, check your answers to find out if you identified the phrases and clauses correctly.

1. I completed my project, / but I was not satisfied with it.

Clause / Clause

2. Jacob knew about it; / however he kept asking everyone about it.

Clause / Clause

3. I was waiting / at the park.

Clause / Phrase

4. They all sang / extremely well.

Clause / Phrase

5. The girls in the black dresses are the ones / who won the competition last year.

Clause / Clause

6. In the meantime, / I will help you with your domestic chores.

Phrase / Clause

7. Santana and Brittany are good dancers.

Clause

8. When we reach home, / we will call you.

Clause / Clause

9. We were planning our summer vacation.

Clause

10. She finally agreed to come with us / to the slumber party.

Clause / Clause

Frequently Asked Questions on Phrases and Clauses in English Grammar

What is a phrase?

A phrase is a part of a sentence which consists of a group of words that give more information about the subject, action or event in a sentence. A phrase cannot stand on its own and will not convey meaning if separated from the sentence.

What is a clause?

A clause is also a part of a sentence that consists of a subject and a verb, unlike phrases.

What are the types of phrases?

According to the kind of function it does, it can be classified into various types and they include the following.

  • Noun Phrase
  • Verb Phrase
  • Adverb/Adverbial Phrase
  • Prepositional Phrase
  • Adjective/Adjectival Phrase

What are the types of clauses?

Clauses can be divided into two main types depending on how they behave in a sentence. The different types of clauses are:

  • Main Clause or Independent Clause
  • Subordinate Clause or Dependent Clause

Give some examples of phrases.

Here are some examples of phrases for your reference.

  • Anu and Teena (noun phrase)
  • Have been searching (verb phrase)
  • Beside the trees (prepositional phrase)
  • Extremely well (adverb phrase)
  • The house on 6th street (noun phrase)

Give some examples of clauses.

Here are some examples of clauses for your reference.

  • As soon as I reach the office (dependent or subordinate clause)
  • I did not bring my umbrella. (independent clause)
  • When the little boy saw his mom (dependent or subordinate clause)
  • Collect your parcel from the courier office. (independent clause)
  • Though we left home early (dependent or subordinate clause)

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