What Is a Phrase? (with Examples)
A phrase is a team of words the stand together as a single grammatical unit, frequently as component of a i or a sentence.
You are watching: What does the phrase "the withered leaves of industrial enterprise" compare failed businesses to?A phrase does no contain a subject and also verb and, consequently, cannot convey a complete thought. A phrase contrasts with a clause. A i does save a subject and also verb, and also it deserve to convey a complete idea.
Interactive instances of PhrasesHere room some interactive examples to assist explain the difference in between phrases, clauses, and single words. (In this examples, the subjects room blue, and also the verbs are green. Keep in mind that nobody of the phrases has a topic or a verb.)
Easy examples of PhrasesLet"s begin with a sentence that has actually no phrases and also then construct some in.Janet eats cakes daily.(This sentence has no phrases. Every one 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 phrase functioning together the topic of this sentence. Keep in mind that the phrase itself does not contain its own subject and also verb.)My cousin Janet eats cakes throughout the week.(We"ve included another phrase. This one likewise has three words, but it is functioning together an adverb.)My cousin Janet was eating cakes throughout the week.(We"ve added another phrase. This one has actually two words. It is a multi-word verb.)My cousin Janet was eating cream cakes native the bakery during the week.(We"ve included another phrase. This one has 5 words. The is functioning as a direct object in this sentence.)The examples over prove the phrases role as one single unit in ~ a sentence. But, let"s look at a tiny closer.The ax "cream cakes native the bakery" has actually its own installed phrase ("from the bakery"). This is a prepositional expression describing the "cream cakes." So, it"s feasible to have actually a phrase within a phrase. It"s common in fact. There"s more. The native "was eat cream cakes indigenous the bakery during the week" is additionally 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 additionally be phrases, as they space in this example.)
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Common varieties of PhraseHere space some instances of the common varieties of phrase.
Adjective PhraseAn adjective expression is a team of words top by an adjective that modifies a noun. In this examples, the adjective phrases room shaded and the head adjective is in bold.Dexter had actually noticeably evil
eyes.(Here, the adjective phrase modifies "eyes.")Victoria was immensely proud
of us.(Here, the adjective expression modifies "Victoria.")The term "adjectival phrase" is often used interchangeably through "adjective phrase," however many grammarians reserve "adjectival phrase" for multi-word adjectives that space not top by one adjective. For example:My auntie is the lady with all the unicorn tattoos.(The phrase "with every the unicorn tattoos" is a multi-word adjective relenten "the lady," yet it is not headed by an adjective (hence no native in bold). Top by the preposition "with," this is an example of a prepositional expression functioning together an adjective. It is best classified together an adjectival phrase as opposed to one adjective phrase.)Read an ext about adjective phrases.
An adverbial expression is a group of words that attributes as one adverb. In this examples, the adverb phrases space shaded. That sings in a short register.(Here, "in a low register" modifies the verb "sings." together it is headed by the preposition "in," this adverbial expression is likewise a prepositional phrase.)Luckily for us, us arrived just in time.(Here, the adverbial phrase modifies the verb "arrived.")Read an ext about adverb phrases.
A noun phrase consists of a noun and all that modifiers. In these examples, the noun phrases space shaded and the head nouns are in bold.How much is the doggy
in the window?(Here, the head noun is "doggy." "That" is a modifier. "In the window" is also a comprehensive (a prepositional phrase functioning together an adjective explicate "doggy.")You can tell a lot about a fellow"s character by his way
of eat jellybeans.(Here, the comprehensive "of eat jellybeans" is a prepositional expression functioning together an adjective relenten "way." The prepositional expression itself contains the gerund phrase (see below) "eating jellybeans." therefore this an easy noun phrase has an installed phrase the itself has an embedded phrase. As you can see, the hatchet "phrase" has actually a vast scope. Remember that a expression is any kind of group of native that role as a solitary unit.)Read an ext about noun phrases.
A prepositional phrase is a group of words that is composed of a preposition, its object (which will be a noun or a pronoun), and also any words that modify the object. In these examples, the prepositional phrases are shaded and the prepositions space in bold. I lived near
the beach.(As is the situation here, a prepositional phrase deserve to stand alone together a solitary unit in ~ a sentence. Here, the prepositional phrase is an adverb the place.)How lot is that doggy in
the window?(Quite often, a preposition phrase attributes in one more phrase. Psychic this example from above? Here, the prepositional phrase is functioning as an adjective explicate "doggy." that is part of the noun phrase "that doggy in the window.")You deserve to tell a lot about a fellow"s personality by
his method of eat jellybeans.(Remember this example from above? Here, the prepositional expression is functioning together an adverb editing "can tell." notification that the highlighted prepositional expression includes an additional prepositional phrase ("of eat jellybeans"). Yeah, that can get complicated.)Read much more about prepositional phrases.
A gerund phrase is a expression that is composed of a gerund, that object, and any modifiers. In these examples, the gerund phrases are shaded and the gerunds are in bold.Moving
quickly but stealthily is the crucial to survival.Arithmetic is the ability to count as much as twenty without taking
off your shoes. (Mickey Mouse)Read more about gerund phrases.
An infinitive phrase is the infinitive type of a verb plus any kind of complements and also modifiers. In these examples, the prototype phrases space shaded and the prototype verbs are in bold.She tells you to dance
like no one is watching.The an initial step in forgiveness is the willingness to forgive
those who have actually wronged us. (Author Marianne Williamson)Read much more about infinitive phrases.
A participle expression is an adjective phrase headed through a participle. In this examples, the jet phrases are shaded and also the participles room in bold.Overcome
with disappointment, the professor shook his head and sighed.Within 5 seconds, the dog chasing
the hare was the end of sight.Read more about participle phrases.
An appositive is a noun or a noun phrase that sits next to one more noun to rename that or to describe it in an additional way. In this examples, the appositives are shaded.Elizabeth I, the daughter that Henry VIII and also Anne Boleyn, ended up being Queen the England in 1558.Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, is often dubbed USA"s best inventor.Read much more about appositives.
Phrases work as different Parts of Speech
Here is a perform of the components of decided with an example of a phrase functioning together each one.I am in search of a book to make me laugh.(This is an example of an infinitive expression functioning together an adjective. It describes "a book." paragraph commonly function as adjectives.)Read more about adjective phrases.I am going there to support you.(This is an instance of one infinitive phrase functioning as an adverb. That is one adverb that reason. Paragraph commonly function as adverbs.)Read more about adverb phrases.I am not only angry but likewise disappointed.(This is an example of a expression functioning together a conjunction. Many conjunctions are solitary words, no phrases. This is an example of a correlative conjunction.)I understand a few people who could give girlfriend a hundred and one reasons.(In this example, there are two paragraph functioning as determiners. These determiners space both quantifiers. Most determiners are solitary words.)Holy moly! She won!(This is an example of a expression functioning together an interjection. Many interjections are single words.)Running the madness is necessary to clear the wait pocket.(This is an instance of a gerund expression functioning as a noun. Paragraph commonly duty as nouns.)Read an ext about noun phrases.According to Mark, the mechanism is broken.(This is an instance of a expression functioning as a preposition. Many prepositions are single words.)No one is infallible.(This is an example of a expression functioning as a pronoun. Most pronouns are solitary words.)I to be going there to support you.(This is an example of a phrase functioning together a verb. Only one-word verbs (e.g., play, think) in the basic past it s too dirty (played, thought) and also the straightforward present it is too dirty (plays, thinks) are solitary words. The remainder are paragraph that include auxiliary verbs.)Read more about verb tense.
The power structure of indigenous UnitsThe pecking order of word devices is:Word (e.g., Shark)(A word is the smallest meaningful unit.)Phrase (e.g., A seven-foot tiger shark)(A phrase is a solitary piece the information consisted of of more than one word. It will not contain a subject and also a verb.)(A i is a single piece the information made up of an ext than one word which includes a subject and a verb.)(A sentence conveys a finish idea. It have to contain at least one clause. Note: A i that stands alone together a sentence is well-known as an elevation clause.)(A complicated sentence is an elevation clause sustained by at the very least one other clause.)(A compound sentence is a sentence consisted of of at least two live independence clauses.)
Why have to I Care about Phrases?As we"ve covered, the limit of the ax "phrase" is wide, and it is not unusual to have a phrase that has one more phrase embedded within it, i m sorry itself can have an embedded phrase. That sounds complicated, and it deserve to be, but here"s one simple, crucial fact around every phrase: it will only role as one component of speech.That said, here are the optimal seven writing worries related come phrases.
(Issue 1) once your noun expression is the subject of a verb, for sure subject-verb commitment with the head noun.The Spitfire"s 9-yard belt that bullets
give us the term "the complete nine yards." (The head noun in this noun expression is "belt." all the other words in the noun phrase are modifiers. As "belt" is singular, the verb "give" is wrong. It have to be "gives.") The Spitfire"s 9-yard belt of bullets
provides us the hatchet "the full nine yards." perform not it is in tricked 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 more about subject-verb agreement.
(Issue 2) prevent ambiguity as soon as placing your prepositional phrase.Ambiguity through 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 once he fed the shark, or does that tell us which shark note fed? Is "in the cage" functioning together an adverb modifying "fed" or one adjective editing "shark"? If you check out it as an adverb (i.e., telling us where mark was), you could assume there was simply one shark. If you check out it as an adjective (i.e., "the shark that was in the cage"), you would assume there were other sharks.) girlfriend should get rid of such faint by rewording. For example:Mark was in the cage as soon as he fed the shark. mark fed the shark that was in the cage. that course, as readers have actually some context, over there is commonly no actual ambiguity, yet you need to still effort to save your sentences ambiguity-free to portray yourself together a clean thinker. Right here is one more example: Simon and his mommy were reunited after 52 years in McDonald"s. when you usage a preposition phrase, examine to see whether it can potentially be editing something rather in your sentence. Be afflicted with in mental that, even though it"s clear to you what your prepositional phrase is modifying, it could not be clear to her readers.If your prepositional expression is ambiguous, move it beside (usually automatically to the ideal of) whatever it"s meant to be modifying. That normally does the trick. Because that example:Simon and his mom were reunited in McDonald"s ~ 52 years. Sometimes, you need to reword. For example:Joe fight the burglar through a hammer. (ambiguous)Joe hit through a hammer the burglar . (unwieldy) Joe used a hammer to hit the burglar. (This reworded version works.)Read an ext about this issue on the "prepositional phrases" web page (see factor 3).
(Issue 3) Don"t usage a hyphen v an adverb finishing "-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 composing efficiency). She has beautifully-formed
feet. (The hyphen is unjustified as soon as 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 as an adjective), then use a hyphen to eliminate any type of ambiguity.She has well-formed
feet. (The hyphen is justification to make it clear you typical the adverb "well," i.e., healthily, and not the adjective "well," i.e., healthy.)Read much more about this issue on the "adjective phrases" page.
(Issue 4) You can usually conserve two indigenous by deleting "in order" in a phrase that start "in bespeak to."
If you require to minimize your word count, you deserve to usually replace "in bespeak to" with simply "to" without any loss the meaning. For example: You require a stubborn belief in one idea in stimulate to watch it realised. (Inventor James Dyson)Read much more about deleting "in order" on the "infinitives" web page (see factor 3).
(Issue 5) Punctuate your jet phrases correctly.
Here space some general guidelines to help with correctly placing and also punctuating a jet phrase.(Guideline 1) when a participle phrase is at the front of a sentence, counter it with a comma and also put the noun gift modified immediately after the comma. Removing
his glasses, the professor shook his head through disappointment. (Guideline 2) when a participle phrase follows 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 can delete that or put it in brackets), then counter with a comma (or 2 commas if it"s mid-sentence). (You could additionally use dashes or brackets.)The yellow Ferrari, unregistered
in the UK and probably stolen in France, was offered as the get-away car. Read more about this worry on the page around restrictive (or essential) modifiers
.(Guideline 3) as soon as a participle phrase is in ~ the finish of her sentence and not immediately after that noun, balance out it with a comma to assist show the it"s not modifying whatever is come its left.The boys loved your boxing gloves, wearing
them even to bed.
(Issue 6) split infinitives room okay.
Often, one infinitive expression will feature a break-up infinitive(e.g., "to really try," "to privately observe").Using a split infinitive is generally the most succinct and also natural way to write. However, there"s an issue with the split infinitive: some regard it together non-standard English or even a grammar mistake. Let"s it is in clear. Separation infinitives room perfectly acceptable.But, can you take the hazard that several of your reader might think about you sloppy for utilizing a break-up infinitive? Here"s some advice: have actually a fast go at rewording her sentence to stop the break-up infinitive, but if your brand-new sentence doesn"t read too (and it probably won"t), go v the break-up infinitive.In this examples, the split infinitives room in bold and the prototype phrases space shaded:He requirements to correctly present
the facts.He requirements to existing the facts accurately.(The second version (the reworded version) is safer. It sounds okay, and also it doesn"t attribute a split infinitive that can annoy some of your readers.)Read much more about this worry on the "infinitive phrases" web page (see suggest 2).
Gerund unit volume are helpful for reducing her word count and writing better-flowing sentences. Look in ~ this sentence:The exploration of this new cave will assist with the facilitation that the exploration of the west tunnels.(This sentence has way too plenty of nouns. It"s long and stuffy, and also it doesn"t circulation naturally.)Here is the sentence making use of gerund phrases:Discovering this brand-new cave will aid with experimenting the western tunnels.(This version features two gerund phrases. It operation far much better than the variation above.) Read much more about this issue on the "gerund phrases" page.