A complete combination of words is referred to as a sentence. However, the sentence itself is formed of small elements called phrases and clauses.

A simple sentence has only one subject and one finite verb to express the meaning.

A phrase is a group of words without a finite verb. On the other hand, A clause is a group of words containing a finite verb.


Definition of Phrase

A phrase is a group of words without a finite verb. OR

A phrase is a collection of words without a subject or predicate. The phrase is the fundamental building block of English grammar.

Example: To speak the truth is a good habit. To do the sum is trouble. I saw a girl with long hair.

Types of Phrases

There are 9 types of phrases.

  1. Noun Phrase,
  2. Verbal Phrase,
  3. Adjective Phrase,
  4. Adverbial Phrase,
  5. Prepositional Phrase,
  6. Appositive Phrase,
  7. Infinitive Phrase,
  8. Gerund Phrase,
  9. Absolute Phrase

Noun Phrase

A noun phrase is a group of words that perform the function of a noun.

Examples of Noun Phrases

  • All his kith and kin left him.
  • Early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
  • To do the sum is trouble.

Read the following Nouns and Noun Phrases:

NounsNoun Phrases
Football is a good game.Playing football is a good game.
Reading is a good habit.Have you enjoyed reading this novel?
Your bed is ready.Early to bed is a healthy habit.

Verbal Phrase

A verbal phrase or a phrasal verb is a group of words that work as a verb.

Examples of Verbal Phrases

  • Mother looks after her baby. (takes care)
  • We must try to make up for the loss. (compensate)
  • You should put on woollen clothes in winter. ( wear)

Adjective Phrase

An Adjective Phrase is a group of words that work as an adjective.

Examples of Adjective Phrases

  • I saw a woman with long hair.
  • John is a man of kind nature.
  • Yesterday, I met an old man too weak to walk.
  • A girl with blue eyes met me yesterday.

Read the following Adjectives and Adjective Phrases:

AdjectiveAdjective Phrases
A black coat.A coat of black colour.
A golden crown.A crown made of gold.
A blank page.A page with no writing on it.

Adverbial Phrase

An Adverbial Phrase is a group of words that work as an adverb.

Examples Adverbial Phrases

  • Alisha worked with care. (Carefully)
  • Manila looked at the tiger with fear. (Fearfully)
  • They left the town bag and baggage. (with all one’s belongings)

Read the following Adverbs and Adverbial Phrases:

Adverbs Adverbial Phrases
CarefullyWith care.
Bravelywith bravery.
Beautifullyin a beautiful style.
Everywherein all places.
Hereat this place.
Nowat this very moment.
Recentlyat present / at a recent date.

Prepositional Phrase

A Prepositional Phrase is a group of words that work as a preposition.

Examples of Prepositional Phrases

  • There is a park in front of our college.
  • Lisa succeeded in life by virtue of honesty.
  • In spite of his illness, he works.
  • Besides making a promise, she kept it.

Appositive Phrase

An Appositive Phrase is a group of words that is placed next to another word in order to explain it.

Examples of Appositive Phrases

  • Tina, my sister, is very ill.
  • I love Tony, my faithful dog.
  • Lisa, my sister, has secured 1st place in her examination.

Infinitive Phrase

An infinitive phrase is formed of an infinitive (to + verb) as well as complements and modifiers. An infinitive’s indirect object acts as its complement, while its adverb acts as its modifier. They can function as nouns, adverbs, or adjectives.

Examples of Infinitive Phrases

  • The injured person started to slowly open his mouth.
  • To know him is to love him.

Gerund Phrase

A Gerund is a verb that ends in ‘-ing’ and consists of a noun and a verb.

They look like verbs, but they behave like nouns. A gerund, its object, and its modifier make up a gerund phrase. It performs all the tasks of a noun. 

Examples of Gerund Phrases

  • Working for this company has helped me improve my communication skills. (Subject of the sentence)
  • John enjoys knitting sweaters for the children in the orphanage. (Object of the sentence)

Absolute Phrase

Examples of Absolute Phrase

Read the following sentences :
(i) (a) It was a holiday. (b) We went out for a picnic.
(ii) It being a holiday, we went out for a picnic.
(iii) (a) The war broke out. (b) The prices rose high.
(iv) The war having broken out, the prices rose high.

In sentence (ii) ‘It being a holiday‘ and in sentence (iv) ‘The war having broken out‘ are Nominative Absolute denoting the interdependence of these groups of words with the main parts of the sentences.

Such groups of words of interdependence with separate subjects and without finite verb are called Absolute Phrases.

Also, Read

Active and Passive Voice

Active and Passive Voice

Transformation of Sentence

Transformation of Sentence





Types of Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *