What Is a Phrase? (with Examples)

A phrase is a team of words that stand together as a single grammatical unit, typically as part of a i or a sentence.

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A expression does no contain a subject and verb and, consequently, cannot convey a finish thought. A expression contrasts with a clause. A clause does save on computer a subject and also verb, and also it deserve to convey a complete idea.

Interactive instances of Phrases

Here room some interactive examples to aid explain the difference between phrases, clauses, and solitary words. (In these examples, the subjects room blue, and the verbs room green. Note that nobody of the phrases has a topic or a verb.)

Easy examples of Phrases

Let"s begin with a sentence that has actually no phrases and then build some in.Janet eats cakes daily.(This sentence has no phrases. All of the parts of the sentence are single words.)My cousin Janet eats cakes daily.(Now we have a phrase. It"s a three-word expression functioning together the topic of this sentence. Note that the phrase itself does not contain its very own subject and verb.)My cousin Janet eats cakes during the week.(We"ve included another phrase. This one also has 3 words, yet it is functioning together an adverb.)My cousin Janet was eating cakes throughout the week.(We"ve included another phrase. This one has actually two words. It is a multi-word verb.)My cousin Janet to be eating cream cakes native the bakery during the week.(We"ve added another phrase. This one has 5 words. That is functioning as a straight object in this sentence.)The examples over prove the phrases role as one single unit in ~ a sentence. But, let"s look a tiny closer.The hatchet "cream cakes native the bakery" has actually its own embedded phrase ("from the bakery"). This is a prepositional expression describing the "cream cakes." So, it"s possible to have a expression within a phrase. It"s typical in fact. There"s more. The native "was eat cream cakes indigenous the bakery during the week" is also classified a phrase. It"s referred to as a verb phrase. (A verb phrase is composed of a verb and also all its modifiers. Those modification could also be phrases, as they space in this example.)
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Common species of Phrase

Here room some instances of the common types of phrase.

Adjective Phrase

An adjective expression is a team of words headed by one adjective the modifies a noun. In this examples, the adjective phrases space shaded and the head adjective is in bold.Dexter had actually noticeably evil
eyes.(Here, the adjective expression modifies "eyes.")Victoria was immensely proud the us.(Here, the adjective expression modifies "Victoria.")The hatchet "adjectival phrase" is regularly used interchangeably v "adjective phrase," however many grammar reserve "adjectival phrase" because that multi-word adjectives that room not top by one adjective. Because that example:My auntie is the lady with all the unicorn tattoos.(The expression "with every the unicorn tattoos" is a multi-word adjective relenten "the lady," but it is not headed by one adjective (hence no native in bold). Top by the preposition "with," this is an instance of a prepositional expression functioning as an adjective. The is best classified as an adjectival phrase as opposed to one adjective phrase.)Read an ext about adjective phrases.

Adverbial Phrase

An adverbial expression is a group of indigenous that attributes as an adverb. In these examples, the adverbial phrases space shaded. That sings in a short register.(Here, "in a short register" modifies the verb "sings." as it is headed by the preposition "in," this adverbial phrase is additionally a preposition phrase.)Luckily because that us, we arrived just in time.(Here, the adverbial phrase modifies the verb "arrived.")Read an ext about adverbial phrases.

Noun Phrase

A noun phrase is composed of a noun and all that is modifiers. In this examples, the noun phrases space shaded and the head nouns room in bold.How lot is that doggy in the window?(Here, the head noun is "doggy." "That" is a modifier. "In the window" is additionally a modifier (a prepositional phrase functioning as an adjective explicate "doggy.")You deserve to tell a lot around a fellow"s character by his way of eating jellybeans.(Here, the comprehensive "of eating jellybeans" is a prepositional expression functioning together an adjective explicate "way." The prepositional phrase itself includes the gerund phrase (see below) "eating jellybeans." for this reason this straightforward noun phrase has an installed phrase the itself has an installed phrase. Together you can see, the term "phrase" has actually a vast scope. Remember that a expression is any type of group of native that role as a solitary unit.)Read more about noun phrases.

Prepositional Phrase

A prepositional expression is a team of native that consists of a preposition, its thing (which will be a noun or a pronoun), and also any words the modify the object. In these examples, the preposition phrases room shaded and the prepositions room in bold. I lived near the beach.(As is the situation here, a preposition phrase can stand alone as a solitary unit within a sentence. Here, the prepositional expression is an adverb of place.)How lot is the doggy in the window?(Quite often, a preposition phrase functions in another phrase. Remember this example from above? Here, the prepositional phrase is functioning together an adjective describing "doggy." that is component of the noun expression "that doggy in the window.")You have the right to tell a lot around a fellow"s personality by his way of eating jellybeans.(Remember this example from above? Here, the prepositional phrase is functioning together an adverb editing "can tell." notification that the emphasize prepositional expression includes one more prepositional expression ("of eating jellybeans"). Yeah, that can get complicated.)Read an ext about preposition phrases.

Gerund Phrase

A gerund expression is a expression that is composed of a gerund, that object, and also any modifiers. In this examples, the gerund phrases space shaded and also the gerunds are in bold.Moving quickly yet stealthily is the key to survival.Arithmetic is the capacity to count as much as twenty there is no taking off your shoes. (Mickey Mouse)Read an ext about gerund phrases.

Infinitive Phrase

An infinitive phrase is the infinitive kind of a verb plus any complements and modifiers. In this examples, the prototype phrases room shaded and also the prototype verbs room in bold.She tells you to dance like no one is watching.The very first step in forgiveness is the willingness to forgive those who have wronged us. (Author Marianne Williamson)Read much more about prototype phrases.

Participle Phrase

A participle phrase is one adjective phrase headed by a participle. In these examples, the jet phrases space shaded and the participles space in bold.Overcome with disappointment, the professor shook his head and sighed.Within 5 seconds, the dog chasing the hare was out of sight.Read more about participle phrases.

Appositive Phrase

An appositive is a noun or a noun expression that sits following to an additional noun come rename it or to explain it in one more way. In this examples, the appositives space shaded.Elizabeth I, the daughter that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, became Queen that England in 1558.Thomas Edison, the inventor that the irradiate bulb, is often referred to as USA"s greatest inventor.Read much more about appositives.

Phrases functioning as different Parts of Speech

Here is a list of the parts of speech with an example of a expression functioning as each one.I am trying to find a publication to make me laugh.(This is an instance of an infinitive phrase functioning as an adjective. It describes "a book." unit volume commonly role as adjectives.)Read much more about adjective phrases.I to be going over there to assistance you.(This is an example of one infinitive phrase functioning as an adverb. It is an adverb the reason. Phrases commonly duty as adverbs.)Read much more about adverbial phrases.I am not only angry but additionally disappointed.(This is an example of a phrase functioning as a conjunction. Many conjunctions are solitary words, no phrases. This is an example of a correlative conjunction.)I recognize a few people who could give friend a hundred and also one reasons.(In this example, there are two phrases functioning together determiners. These determiners space both quantifiers. Many determiners are single words.)Holy moly! She won!(This is an instance of a expression functioning as an interjection. Many interjections are single words.)Running the madness is vital to clear the air pocket.(This is an instance of a gerund expression functioning as a noun. Unit volume commonly function as nouns.)Read much more about noun phrases.According to Mark, the system is broken.(This is an example of a expression functioning as a preposition. Many prepositions are solitary words.)No one is infallible.(This is an instance of a expression functioning as a pronoun. Most pronouns are single words.)I to be going over there to assistance you.(This is an instance of a expression functioning as a verb. Just one-word verbs (e.g., play, think) in the basic past tense (played, thought) and the basic present it s too dirty (plays, thinks) are single words. The rest are paragraph that encompass auxiliary verbs.)Read much more about verb tense.

The hierarchy of native Units

The power structure of word systems is:Word (e.g., Shark)(A word is the smallest meaningful unit.)Phrase (e.g., A seven-foot tiger shark)(A expression is a solitary piece the information made up of much more than one word. It will not save on computer a subject and a verb.)(A i is a solitary piece of information consisted of of more than one indigenous which includes a subject and a verb.)(A sentence conveys a complete idea. It need to contain at the very least one clause. Note: A i that was standing alone together a sentence is known as an independent clause.)(A complicated sentence is an independent clause sustained by at the very least one various other clause.)(A compound sentence is a sentence made up of at the very least two independent clauses.)

Why need to I Care about Phrases?

As we"ve covered, the scope of the ax "phrase" is wide, and it is not uncommon to have a expression that has one more phrase embedded within it, i m sorry itself might have an installed phrase. The sounds complicated, and also it can be, but here"s one simple, key fact about every phrase: it will certainly only duty as one component of speech.That said, right here are the peak seven writing problems related come phrases.

(Issue 1) when your noun phrase is the topic of a verb, for sure subject-verb covenant with the head noun.

The Spitfire"s 9-yard belt that bullets
provide us the term "the full nine yards." (The head noun in this noun phrase is "belt." all the other words in the noun expression are modifiers. Together "belt" is singular, the verb "give" is wrong. It should be "gives.") The Spitfire"s 9-yard belt of bullets provides us the ax "the complete nine yards." carry out not be tricked right into agreeing the verb through the nearest noun (here, "bullets"). Once a noun phrase is the subject of a verb, the head noun governs the verb. Read much more about subject-verb agreement.

(Issue 2) stop ambiguity when placing her prepositional phrase.

Ambiguity v prepositional phrases can be an issue. Look in ~ this example:Mark fed the shark in the cage. (Does the prepositional expression tell us where note was when he fed the shark, or does that tell us which shark mark fed? Is "in the cage" functioning as an adverb modifying "fed" or an adjective modifying "shark"? If you read it as an adverb (i.e., telling us where note was), you could assume over there was simply one shark. If you check out it as an adjective (i.e., "the shark that remained in the cage"), you would certainly assume over there were other sharks.) girlfriend should get rid of such pass out by rewording. Because that example:Mark was in the cage when he fed the shark. note fed the shark that remained in the cage. that course, together readers have actually some context, over there is usually no real ambiguity, however you have to still strive to store your sentences ambiguity-free come portray yourself as a clean thinker. Here is an additional example: Simon and his mom were reunited after 52 year in McDonald"s. as soon as you usage a preposition phrase, examine to see whether it can potentially be editing and enhancing something else in your sentence. Be affected by each other in mind that, also though it"s clear to friend what her prepositional expression is modifying, it could not be clear to her readers.If your prepositional expression is ambiguous, move it beside (usually immediately to the appropriate of) every little thing it"s supposed to it is in modifying. That typically does the trick. For example:Simon and also his mom were reunited in McDonald"s after ~ 52 years. Sometimes, you need to reword. For example:Joe hit the burglar through a hammer. (ambiguous)Joe hit v a hammer the burglary . (unwieldy) Joe provided a hammer come hit the burglar. (This reworded version works.)Read more about this issue on the "prepositional phrases" web page (see factor 3).

(Issue 3) Don"t use a hyphen with an adverb ending "-ly."

When an adverb ending -"ly" (and lots do) is editing an adjective, don"t usage a hyphen to join it come the adjective. The hyphen is unjustified (in the attention of writing efficiency). She has beautifully-formed
feet. (The hyphen is unjustified when the adverb ends -"ly.")However, if your adverb is one like "well," "fast," "best," or "better" (i.e., one that could feasibly it is in mistaken together an adjective), then usage a hyphen to eliminate any type of ambiguity.She has actually well-formed feet. (The hyphen is justified to make it clean you mean the adverb "well," i.e., healthily, and also not the adjective "well," i.e., healthy.)Read an ext about this problem on the "adjective phrases" page.

(Issue 4) You can usually save two words by deleting "in order" in a phrase that starts "in stimulate to."

If you require to reduce your indigenous count, you have the right to usually replace "in order to" with simply "to" without any loss of meaning. Because that example: You require a stubborn id in an idea in order to view it realised. (Inventor James Dyson)Read more about deleting "in order" ~ above the "infinitives" page (see factor 3).

(Issue 5) Punctuate your participle phrases correctly.

Here are some general guidelines to assist with correctly placing and also punctuating a participle phrase.(Guideline 1) when a participle phrase is in ~ the prior of a sentence, balance out it through a comma and also put the noun gift modified instantly after the comma. Removing his glasses, the professor shook his head with disappointment. (Guideline 2) when a jet phrase adheres to the noun it"s modifying, don"t usage a comma.Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality. (Playwright Oscar Wilde)However, if the participle expression is nonessential (i.e., you could delete that or put it in brackets), then counter with a comma (or two commas if it"s mid-sentence). (You could also use dashes or brackets.)The yellow Ferrari, unregistered in the UK and also probably stolen in France, was used as the get-away car. Read an ext about this problem on the page about restrictive (or essential) modifiers.(Guideline 3) when a participle expression is at the end of your sentence and also not immediately after its noun, balance out it v a comma to aid show the it"s not editing whatever is come its left.The boys loved their boxing gloves, wearing them also to bed.

(Issue 6) split infinitives room okay.

Often, one infinitive phrase will feature a split infinitive(e.g., "to really try," "to covertly observe").Using a break-up infinitive is normally the many succinct and also natural method to write. However, there"s an problem with the break-up infinitive: some regard it together non-standard English or also a grammar mistake. Let"s it is in clear. Separation infinitives are perfectly acceptable.But, can you take the hazard that some of your reader might take into consideration you sloppy for using a separation infinitive? Here"s some advice: have a quick go in ~ rewording your sentence to prevent the break-up infinitive, however if your new sentence doesn"t read too (and it probably won"t), go with the split infinitive.In these examples, the split infinitives are in bold and the prototype phrases space shaded:He demands to accurately present the facts.He requirements to current the facts accurately.(The 2nd version (the reworded version) is safer. It sound okay, and also it doesn"t function a separation infinitive that might annoy few of your readers.)Read an ext about this problem on the "infinitive phrases" web page (see point 2).

(Issue 7) Gerunds deserve to reduce your word count and improve analysis flow.

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Gerund paragraph are helpful for reducing your word count and writing better-flowing sentences. Look at this sentence:The discovery of this new cave will help with the facilitation that the exploration of the west tunnels.(This sentence has way too countless nouns. It"s long and stuffy, and also it doesn"t flow naturally.)Here is the sentence making use of gerund phrases:Discovering this new cave will assist with experimenting the west tunnels.(This version functions two gerund phrases. It operation far much better than the variation above.) Read more about this problem on the "gerund phrases" page.