The Phrase and clause



The Phrase and clause

In the English language, there’s a group of smaller sentences called phrases and clauses. These are used to add additional information to a sentence. But can they be too long? Today we’ll look at different ways you can use these phrases and clauses to improve your writing.

In English grammar, every sentence will be a clause or phrase. But there is a little difference between the clause and phrases.


What is phrase and Clause ?

Every clause and phrase are similar in written like having two or more words of the sentence. But both have different roles. First of all, we will define both words individually.

Clause Definition:

A clause can be defined as a set of words that consist of a subject and a verb.

Clauses are a very important part of writing. They’re the building blocks of sentences, but to many people, they’re just confusing. A clause is a bundle of words that consist of a subject and a verb, just like a sentence. However, unlike a sentence, a clause does not express a complete thought. We use clauses all the time in our writing.

 For example:

“While I was studying, I noticed the cat sitting in the corner.”

The first clause is “While I was studying,” and the second is “I noticed the cat sitting in the corner.”

The second clause begins with “I” and ends with “the cat sitting in the corner.

That means that “I” is use as the subject of the clause, and “noticed” is the verb.

Phrase definition:

The phrase can be defined as a group of words that doesn’t have any subject or verb.

Phrases are small phrases that are used in conversation, speeches, and writing. They are made up of groups of words used to describe another group of words, make a statement, or ask a question. Phrases are made up of words that are related to each other.

For example:

The phrase “in the middle” contains the words “in” and “middle” that are related to each other.

Phrases are always made up of at least two words.

The phrase “a little” is made up of two words.

A sentence will not be complete without the clause. You cannot understand the meaning of a single sentence or phrase whenever a clause will not add. Suppose you will remove a clause from the sentence. You will not understand the exact meanings of the sentence.

Kinds of Phrases and Clauses

Types of Phrases

It may be possible that phrases have details that can be interesting for the audience. They can be locations, nouns, actions, and much more to give us an idea about any circumstances.

Generally, phrases include details that make a sentence more interesting. They can describe locations, actions, nouns, and more to give us a clearer idea of what the sentence is trying to tell us.

Noun Phrase:

A noun phrase makes up a noun and any modifiers or complements (e.g., adjectives and determiners and their modifiers and complements) that directly modify the noun.

For example:

A monkey sat on the floor.

A large, brown, fat monkey sat on the floor.

The noun phrase in the above examples is the dog. Since the dog is the head of the phrase, it is also called the head noun. A phrase is further classified as a noun phrase if it has a head noun. There may be more than one noun phrase in a sentence. We can also call the head noun the noun head.


A cat and a dog walked down the street

A large, white, fluffy cat and a small, black, furry dog walked down the street.

The noun phrase in the above examples is the cat and the Dog. A noun phrase is further classified as appositive if it begins with an appositive word or an appositive phrase. An appositive word is a word that identifies or renames the

Verb Phrase:

A verb phrase is a group of words that creates an action. So, this can be a single word, a verb plus some modifying words, or a full sentence. A sentence can be a verb phrase.

The sentence, “I love you,” is a verb phrase.

It is a single sentence that contains a verb that tells you what action is being taken. A phrase is a bundle of words that creates meaning. It is a single idea. A verb phrase is more than two words that create an action.

Verbs can be modified with adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or pronouns. This is how you get complex verb phrases.

Gerund Phrase:

A gerund phrase is a phrase that has a gerund on its head.

For example: 

The phrase “speaking French” is a gerund phrase.

The gerund is “speaking,” and the other words (“French,” in this case) are the phrase. The phrase is a broad term that refers to words and phrases that perform a particular role in a sentence. A gerund phrase is a phrase made up of a gerund and any other words.

Participial phrase

A participial phrase is a phrase consisting of a participle and any modifiers or complements. Participial phrases are also called absolute phrases when used as adjectives or adjective phrases when used as nouns.

For example: 

“Having been told,”

“Being able to sing,”

“Having gone,”

These are participial phrases.

Infinitive phrase:

An infinitive phrase is a phrase that begins with the word to, which is called the infinitive marker. Infinitive phrases can also begin with the word to, followed by a gerund (-ing). Infinitive phrase works as adjectives and adverbs. They can also function as nouns and even as objects of prepositions. Infinitive phrases may also be used as a direct object. Infinitive phrases can be found in a variety of places in a sentence. They may be the subject of the sentence.

For example:

John wanted to eat an apple

Or they may be the direct object

John wanted to see the movie.

Appositive phrase:

An appositive phrase is a bundle of words that restates or renames the subject of the sentence. Appositive phrases come at the beginning of a sentence and can also come after the sentence’s subject. The most common appositive phrase is the noun phrase, called an appositive, next to the subject.

Types of clauses:

Clauses are the main part of a sentence. Without a clause, a sentence is just a group of words that don’t have any meaning on their own. In other words, it would just be a phrase.

There are, however, some clauses that can’t stand on their own as sentences. This is why it can sometimes be difficult to understand phrases vs. clauses.

Here are the main types of clauses:

Independent Clause:

A independent clause is a set of words that has the same grammatical characteristics as a noun. But unlike a noun, it can’t works as a complete sentence. That means, for example, that it doesn’t have an independent subject or verb. The independent clause is a clause that can works individually. It makes sense when you read it, and you don’t need anything else to understand it. 

For example: 

The Dog ran out of the yard. 

Independent clauses can be put together to form a complex sentence. You can also think of an independent clause as a sentence that does not have a dependent clause. 

For example: 

The Dog ran out of the yard after he ate.

Dependent Clause:

Dependent clauses are different from independent clauses in that they can’t stand alone. They can’t be the main subject or the object of a verb. Dependent clauses words can be like 






Or when

Relative pronouns can also introduce them, such as who, who, or whoever.

 For example, in this sentence, the dependent clause cannot stand alone as a complete thought: 

“Although he had to work late, he went to the party.”

There are various types of dependent clauses, including:

Relative Clause:

A relative clause is a type of subordinate clause. It is a statement that begins with a relative pronoun LIKE:









 They may be relative adverbs like:





Whether or not. 

Relative clauses are used to add extra information to a sentence. This extra information can be an adjective, noun, or adverb. These clauses are known as restrictive clauses because they are necessary for the sentence to be complete. Commas or dashes usually set them off.

Noun Clause

A noun clause is a kind of dependent clause that functions as a noun. Noun clauses begin with a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun. In the clause itself, the verb may be a form of the copula be, or it may be a form of a verb such as appear, seem. Noun clauses can modify a noun or pronoun in the main clause or function as a noun in the main clause.


“I know who you went to the party with.” 

“I know who” 

This is a subject clause. 

“Who you went to the party with” 

This is a noun clause that use as a direct object (noun clause as a direct object is also known as a “dative noun clause”). “Who” is also a noun clause use as an adjective.

“I know who you went to the party with” is a noun clause functioning as a compliment.

Adjective Clause:

An adjective clause is a group of words beginning with a relative pronoun like 






These pronouns functions as an adjective within a sentence. Adjective clauses are usually set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma, although the comma may be omitted in some cases. 

Adverbial Clause:

Adverbial Clauses (also known as dependent clauses) are dependent on something else (the independent clause). They can be used to give more information about the independent clause. If the adverbial clause is removed, the sentence would be grammatically correct but make no sense. 

I will not be here when you arrive. 

The word ‘when’ can be used to introduce an adverbial clause. 

The performance will be held where the students study. 

The word ‘where’ can be used to introduce an adverbial clause. 

I will not be here if you arrive. 

The word ‘if’ can be used to introduce an adverbial clause.

An adverbial is a kind of dependent clause used to modify the meaning of another clause. It is normally used to show the time, manner, or place of an action or event. It is also used to express reason, purpose, cause, consequence, condition, concession, result, reason, evidence, and comparison.

Phrase and Clause Examples:

Whenever you come, I will meet you.

Phrase: whenever you come

Clause: I will meet you  

Whenever you wake up, breakfast will be ready.

Phrase: Whenever you wakeup

Clause: breakfast will be ready

When you sleep, I will eat your apples.

Phrase: When you sleep

Clause: I will eat your apples

If you run in front of the Dog, Dog will bit you.

Phrase: If you will run in front of Dog 

Clause: Dog will bit you

If you write slowly during the exam, you may be failing.

Phrase: If you will write slowly during the exam

Clause: you may fail.

Phrase and Clause differences (Phrase vs. Clause):

If you want to find out the difference between the phrase and clause, this part of the article explains it.

Difference between Phrase and Clause:


Phrases are a collection of words that are grouped to form a grammatically complete thought.

Phrases are usually made up of two or more words, but they can be composed of any number of words.

To be a phrase, the group of words has to stand alone as a complete sentence. It’s often necessary to group words in this way to make meaning.

Phrases are used in everyday speech and writing.

Phrases are used in speech to make speaking easier.

It would not be easy to speak if we had to pause between every single word.

Phrases are used in writing to make understanding easier.

It would not be easy to understand if we had to pause between every single word.

Phrases are made up of prepositions, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.


A simple sentence has one clause.

A compound sentence has two or more clauses.

It is a bundle of words that has a subject and a predicate.

It is a fundamental part of a sentence.

It is a bundle of words that express a complete thought

A sentence, on the other hand, includes a clause, but it can also include other elements, such as an object, an adjective, or an adverb.

Simple sentences can contain one clause, while complex sentences can contain several clauses.

The clause is the basic unit of English Grammar.

The clause can be a single word or more than two words that contains a subject and a verb, the main clause, or a subordinate clause.

The type of clause is determined by the function it plays in a larger sentence.

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