Types of Phrases

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

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

Types of Phrases #1

Noun Phrase

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

  • All his kith and kin left him.
  • Early to bed and early to rise to 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.
Any prize is a prestigious thing.To win a prize is not an easy task.

Types of Phrases #2

Verbal Phrase

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

  • 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)

Types of Phrases #3

Adjective Phrase

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

  • I saw a woman with long hair.
  • John is a man of kind nature.
  • He tells a tale with a ring of truth in it.
  • 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.

Types of Phrases #4

Adverbial Phrase

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

  • 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.

Types of Phrases #5

Prepositional Phrase

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

  • 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.

Note: Some Adjective Phrases and Adverbial Phrases also begin with a Preposition. But such an Adjective Phrase qualifies as a Noun and such an Adverb Phrase modifies a Verb, Adjective or another Adverb, while a purely Prepositional Phrase keeps its main force on Preposition construction. However, in a broader sense, Prepositional Phrases include Adjective phrases beginning with a preposition, Adverb phrases beginning with a preposition and purely Prepositional Phrases with their main force on prepositions.

Types of Phrases #6

Appositive Phrase

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

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

Types of Phrases #7

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.

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

Types of Phrases #8

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. 

  • 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)

Types of Phrases #9

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 the 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 verbs are called Absolute Phrases.

Also, Read

Types of Figures of Speech

Types of Figures of Speech

Types of Conjunctions

Types of Conjunctions

Types of Modal Verbs

Types of Modal Verbs

Types of Prepositions with Examples

Types of Prepositions

Types of Sentences

Types of Sentences

4 Types of Moods in English Grammar

Types of Moods

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