Phrases Clauses Sentences

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Phrases and Clauses

Phrases and Clauses are an integral part of English grammar, and their proper knowledge is essential for writing correctly in English. One must know the definition of phrases and clauses as well as the difference between phrases and clauses. So, let us first understand what phrases and clauses are. A phrase refers to a collection of words that act like speech and maybe the adjective phrases, noun phrases, or adverbial phrases. A clause, on the other hand, refers to the noun phrase accompanied by a verb most of the time consisting of a subject and predicate. 

So, this is the basic meaning of phrases and clauses and now let us take a look at the various examples of phrases and clauses.

What is a Phrase?

The phrase refers to any group of words meaningfully arranged to make complete sense.  Phrases lose their meaning if isolated from the rest of the sentence. Examples of phrases are ‘the great lady’, ‘a red flower’, etc. There are three types of phrases. The first type is the prepositional phrase which refers to a group of meaningfully arranged words starting with a preposition. Example: Diwali is a wonderful occasion and I am writing an essay on this. 

Next is the noun phrase which acts as a noun in the sentence. For example: ‘Meena has a very beautiful bag.’. The third type is the verb phrase where the main verb and some other helping verbs would be present. For example, ‘the cycle is moving in a circular path.’. 

What is a Clause?

A clause refers to a group of words containing a subject along with a predicate. This clause can make sense when isolated from the sentence as well. For example, I have a cat. A clause can be main or independent in which the clause can make sense without a context such as, ‘India is growing at a rapid pace’, and this has startled many economists. A subordinate or dependent clause, on the other hand, does not make sense without the presence of another clause. For example, ‘the country is going from bad to worse’.

Phrase Vs Clause

Let us now talk about the difference between phrase and clause. The first point in the difference between phrase and clause is that phrases make sense only in a sentence which is not the case with clauses. The second difference between phrase and clause is that a clause that has a subject and a verb, while a phrase does not have a subject and a verb. A simple sentence can be called a clause which is not the case with phrases. 


Now that we know the definition of phrase and clause, let us understand what are sentences. A sentence is a group of words that convey some meaning and makes sense. The sentence may comprise a subject, predicate, verbs, etc. The types of sentences are declarative, imperative, interrogative, or exclamatory. A declarative sentence states something like 'the sun rises in the east' and ends with a full stop. The imperative sentence makes a request or orders something, for example, 'please turn off the lights when you leave the room'. The interrogative sentence asks a question and ends with a question mark like 'How are you?". “How lovely is that flower!” is an example of an exclamatory sentence ending with an exclamation mark. 

Sentence Clause Structure

Now, let us understand the sentence clause structure. The sentence clause structure is determined by the number and types of clauses that a sentence contains. A simple sentence consists of just one clause while on the other hand, a compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses. The complex sentence has at least one independent and one dependent clause. This is the sentence clause structure. 

To understand the difference between phrases, clauses, and sentences, we need to understand a complete sentence has a subject and predicate and is composed of phrases and clauses. In other words, a sentence is a larger group of phrases and clauses. This is the difference between clauses and sentences.

Solved Examples

Q. State What is the Difference Between Phrase and Clause?

Ans: A phrase does not have a subject or verb, but clauses have a subject and predicate. Clauses can make complete sense by themselves, unlike phrases.

Did You Know?

The sentence structure has a subject that is the object about which something is being said. The predicate tells us about the subject. Every sentence has a subject and a predicate. It may be a direct object affected by the verb or an indirect object which is followed by direct objects. Verbs, phrases, and complements also play a vital role in sentences.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Give the Different Types of Phrases with Examples.

Ans: Phrases are a collection of words that do not make complete sense by themselves. One type of phrase is a prepositional phrase which always begins with a preposition. A noun or pronoun or anything that substitutes the role of a noun or pronoun follows the preposition. For example, ‘He was lost at sea’. The noun phrase is another type where the phrase acts as a noun in a sentence where a noun, pronoun, or its modifiers together make a noun phrase. For example, ‘He takes a bus every day’. A verb phrase has the primary phrase along with one or more helping verbs like, ‘will he be eating the entire tiffin?’.

2. Define Clauses.

Ans: Clauses are a group of words that include both subject and predicates. The clauses, unlike phrases, can act as a sentence by themselves, and this type of clause is called an independent clause. However, this is not always the case, and many clauses cannot be used independently. Such clauses are called subordinate clauses. The subordinate clauses have to be used with independent clauses to convey a complete meaning. For example, 'when the man broke into the bungalow'. An example of an independent clause is 'the cat scratched him'. Independent clauses can convey a complete meaning by themselves.