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Types of Phrases

 

A phrase is a group of related words (within a sentence) without both subject and verb. For example, He is laughing at the joker.

A phrase functions as a noun, verb, adverb, adjective or preposition in a sentence. The function of a phrase depends on its construction (words it contains). On the basis of their functions and constructions, phrases are divided into various types i.e. noun phrase, verb phrase, adverb phrase, adjective phrase, appositive phrase, infinite phrase, participle phrase and gerund phrase.

 

Noun Phrase

      A noun phrase consists of a noun and other related words (usually modifiers and determiners) which modify the noun. It functions like a noun in a sentence.

A noun phrase consists of a noun as the head word and other words (usually modifiers and determiners) which come after or before the noun. The whole phrase works as a noun in a sentence.
Noun Phrase = noun + modifiers        (the modifiers can be after or before noun)

Examples.
            He is wearing a nice red shirt.                      (as noun/object)
            She brought a glass full of water.                (as noun/object)
            The boy with brown hair is laughing.           (as noun/subject)
            A man on the roof was shouting.                  (as noun/subject)

A sentence can also contain more noun phrases.
For example. The girl with blue eyes bought a beautiful chair.

 

Prepositional phrase.

      A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, object of preposition(noun or pronoun) and may also consist of other modifiers.
e.g. on a table, near a wall, in the room, at the door, under a tree

A prepositional phrase starts with a preposition and mostly ends with a noun or pronoun. Whatever prepositional phrase ends with is called object of preposition. A prepositional phrase functions as an adjective or adverb in a sentence.

Examples.
              A boy on the roof is singing a song.              (As adjective)
              The man in the room is our teacher.             (As adjective)
              She is shouting in a loud voice.                    (As adverb)
               He always behaves in a good manner.        (As adverb)

 

Adjective Phrase.

   An adjective phrase is a group of words that functions like an adjective in a sentence. It consists of adjectives, modifier and any word that modifies a noun or pronoun.
An adjective phrase functions like an adjective to modify (or tell about) a noun or a pronoun in a sentence.

Examples.
              He is wearing a nice red shirt.                     (modifies shirt)
              The girl with brown hair is singing a song.  (modifies girl)
              He gave me a glass full of water.                (modifies glass)
              A boy from America won the race.               (modifies boy)

Prepositional phrases and participle phrases also function as adjectives so we can also call them adjective phrases when they function as adjective. In the above sentence “The girl with brown hair is singing a song”, the phrase “with brown hair” is a prepositional phrase but it functions as an adjective.

 

Adverb Phrase

An adverb phrase is a group of words that functions as an adverb in a sentence. It consists of adverbs or other words (preposition, noun, verb, modifiers) that make a group with works like an adverb in a sentence.
An adverb phrase functions like an adverb to modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb.

Examples
            He always behaves in a good manner.         (modifies verb behave)
            They were shouting in a loud voice.             (modifies verb shout)
            She always drives with care.                        (modifies verb drive)
            He sat in a corner of the room.                    (modifies verb sit)
            He returned in a short while.                        (modifies verb return)

A prepositional phrase can also act as an adverb phrase. For example in above sentence “He always behaves in a good manner”, the phrase “in a good manner” is a prepositional phrase but it acts as adverb phrase here.

 

Verb Phrase

     A verb phrase is a combination of main verb and its auxiliaries (helping verbs) in a sentence.

Examples.
             He is eating an apple.
             She has finished her work.
             You should study for the exam.
             She has been sleeping for two hours.

According to generative grammar, a verb phrase can consist of main verb, its auxiliaries, its complements and other modifiers. Hence it can refer to the whole predicate of a sentence.
Example. You should study for the exam.

 

Infinitive Phrase

An infinitive phrase consist of an infinitive(to + simple form of verb) and modifiers or other words associated to the infinitive. An infinitive phrase always functions as an adjective, adverb or a noun in a sentence.

Examples.
            He likes to read books.                             (As noun/object)
            To earn money is a desire of everyone.    (As noun/subject)
            He shouted to inform people about fire.  (As adverb, modifies verb shout)
            He made a plan to buy a car.                    (As adjective, modifies noun plan)

 

Gerund Phrase

A gerund phrase consists of a gerund(verb + ing) and modifiers or other words associated with the gerund. A gerund phrase acts as a noun in a sentence.

Examples
              I like writing good essays.                                 (As noun/object)
              She started thinking about the problem.           (As noun/object)
              Sleeping late in night is not a good habit.         (As noun/subject)
              Weeping of a baby woke him up.                       (As noun/subject)

 

Participle Phrase

            A participle phrase consists of a present participle (verb + ing), a past participle (verb ending in -ed or other form in case of irregular verbs) and modifiers or other associate words. A participle phrase is separated by commas. It always acts as an adjective in a sentence.

Examples
             The kids, making a noise, need food.                      (modifies kids)
             I received a letter, mentioning about my exam.     (modifies letter)
             The table, made of steel, is too expensive.             (modifies table)
             We saw a car, damaged in an accident.                  (modifies car)

 

Absolute Phrase

Absolute phrase (also called nominative phrase) is a group of words including a noun or pronoun and a participle as well as any associated modifiers. Absolute phrase modifies (give information about) the entire sentence. It resembles a clause but it lack a true finite verb. It is separated by a comma or pairs of commas from the rest sentence.

Examples
             He looks sad, his face expressing worry.
             She was waiting for her friend, her eyes on the clock.
             John is painting a wall, his shirt dirty with paint.


Phrase
Types of Phrase
Clause
Types of Clauses
Types of Subordinate Clause
Difference between Phrase and Clause