Meaning, Type and Examples of a Clause and Phrase

Daniel - Fri, 25th January, 2019 @ 03:36:57 AM

Topics in English

Homonyms explained with examples Idioms and Examples of Idioms Synonyms explained with examples Figures of Speech Relative pronouns explained with examples Transitive and Intransitive verbs Meaning, Type and Examples of a Clause and Phrase Essays and Types of Essay

Academic Questions in English

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

Words with same spelling, same sound and different meanings are referred to as _____.

  • A. Homonyms
  • B. Homographs
  • C. Homophones
  • D. Synonyms
  • E. Antonyms
  • F. Homophobes

A man who writes a book is called an author. A woman who writes a book is called an _____.

  • A. author
  • B. authoress
  • C. authorite
  • D. authority
  • E. authress
  • F. auther

The teacher was so vague that we could barely comprehend the _____ details of the topic.

From the options below, which word correctly fills the gap and is also opposite to the underlined word.

  • A. transparent
  • B. minute
  • C. hidden
  • D. explanatory
  • E. main
  • F. specific

Jane is very indolent while her sister Thelma is one of the most _____ girls on campus.

From the options below, which word correctly fills the gap and is also opposite to underlined word.

  • A. devoted
  • B. diligent
  • C. trustworthy
  • D. perfect
  • E. strongest
  • F. intelligent

We had a meeting comprising of all the _____.

  • A. fathers-in-laws
  • B. father-in-law
  • C. father-in-laws
  • D. fathers-in-law

Meaning of a Phrase:

Phrase and Clause are the two grammatical terms that form part of a sentence. Whenever you read a sentence that does not contain the subject doing an action, then such sentense is a phrase. Consider this example below:

  • Angela had her bath after she exercised. (Sentence)
  • after she exercised. (Phrase)

To simply put it, a phrase is a grammatical term referring to a group of words that do not have a subject and a verb. The words in a phrase acts as a single unit but don't contain a subject and a predicate. (Predicate is part of a sentence that tell something about the subject or object). In most sentence, a  phrase is used to provide more information. Let's see another example:

  • She has been living in Lagos. (Sentence)
  • in Lagos. (Phrase)

From the above example, in Lagos is a phrase simply because it does not have a subject and a verb. It also provides more information about where "she has been living".

Also, a phrase by itself does not make complete sense because it is just a group of words. It will need a subject and a verb to become meaningful. Let's see one more example:

  • I ate rice in her house after school on that fateful day. (Sentence)
  • in her house (Phrase)
  • after school (Phrase)
  • on that fateful day (Phrase)

Notice that the three phrases that we drew out from the above example are just group of words that does not have a subject and a verb, thus they don't make complete sense.

We have different types of phrase. They are:

1. Noun Phrase: It contain a noun which also function as the subject, object, or prepositional object in a sentence. For example:

The beautiful lady in the bank is my mother.

2. Verb Phrase: This is a verb with another word or words. For example:

She could be dancing, when we were studying.

3. Adverbial Phrase:  They are group of words that function as an adverb in a sentence. For example:

Ade ate very quickly.

4. Prepositional Phrase: They are phrases that consists of a preposition and a noun (or a preposition and a pronoun). For example:

The food is on the cupboard.

5. Gerund Phrase: Any verb ending with -ing is called a gerund. A gerund phrase include the gerund, plus any modifier and complement. For example:

Kelechi and Chioma had fun, dancing at the party.

6. Infinitive Phrase: Any form of a verb that typically begins with the word "to" is called an infinitive verb. An infinitive phrase therefore include the infinitive, plus any modifier and complement. For example: 

Tunde love to surprise children.

7. Appositive phrase: When a noun phrase renames another noun in the sentence, then it's called an Appositive phrase. For Example:

The lady, a fair beauty, was pleasing to look at.

8. Participle phrase: A participle phrase begins with "-ing" (for present participle) and "-ed" (for past participle), plus its modifiers. They often function as adjective. For example:

  • The boys playing in the field never seemed to tire.
  • The baby cried through out the night.


Meaning of a Clause

A Clause is a grammatical term containing a subject and a verb. (The subject is the entity that performs an action while the verb is the action that was performed by the subject). For example:

  • I ate rice and beans
  • She danced
  • We all laughed

A clause may include the verb predicate. For example:

  • I ate rice
  • She danced joyfully
  • They all laughed simultaneously

A clause may or may not create a complete meaning, depending on the type of clause. In order words, a clause can be independent or dependent.

Independent Clause: The stand alone and must contain at least, a subject and a verb. For example:

  • I sang
  • At the party, I danced.

Dependent clause: They contain a subject and verb. However, they cannot stand alone and cannot make complete sense. They must be joined with an independent clause to be grammatically correct. For example:

  • Everyday before I go to work
  • Whenever I ask the question

So as you can see from the above example, a dependent clause will need an independent clause to make a complete thought. The independent clause (are in bold) in the examples below:

  • Everyday before I go to work, I say a prayer
  • Whenever I ask the question, Alfred replies


Other types of clause include:

1. Noun clause: It act as a noun in the sentence. On it's own, it cannot make a complete thought and as thus, will always contain a subject and a verb. For Example:

I know what he is attempting to do

2. Adverbial clause: It act as an adverb in the sentence. It cannot stand alone as a complete thought, therefore it will always contain a subject and a verb. For Example:

They left for Abuja After the seminar was over.

3. Adjectival or Relative Clause It acts as an adjective in the sentence. It cannot stand alone as a complete thought, therefore it will always contain a subject and a verb. For Example:

The young man, who gave you sweets yesterday, is my brother.

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Amazing facts in English


English is the official language of the air. This is because no matter where you are flying to around the world, your pilot and flight attendants will always understand English

Image Credit: Mourningdoula

In English Language, Coffins and Caskets are quite different. This difference is mainly attributed to their shape.

Coffins aren't perfectly rectangular in shape. They are wide at both shoulders. They  are also tapered at the head and foot. 

Caskets are rectangular in shape and are usually constructed with better quality timber.


Homonyms are words with the same spellings, same sounds but different meanings.

Below are some sentences containing homonyms with their respective meanings

  • Keen

We have a keen match against Ronaldo’s team and Messi seems to be keen.

Keen: An involvement of people competing very hard for something.
Keen: Very interested in something.


  • Tear

Regardless the tear you shed, Mr. Frank will still tear your examination scripts.

Tear: The drop of liquid that comes out from a person's eye when they cry.
Tear: To damage something by pulling or cutting it apart.


  • Jot

There isn't any jot of truth in what he said, so I didn't jot  anything down.

Jot: A very small amount of somethin

Jot: To write something quickly

Please read more on Homonyms here

Certain words in English language appear to be similar but are quite different in meaning.

The table below shows some examples











You can check out the difference in meanings of the words above.

Note: Synonyms are different words with similar meanings. Please read on synonyms here.