Phrase and Clause - Types and Examples of Phrase and Clause

len Alfred Ajibola - Fri, 25th January, 2019 @ 03:36:57 AM

Topics in English

Nouns, Adjectives and Examples of Nouns formed from Adjectives Homonyms - Meaning and Examples of Homonyms Idioms and Examples of Idioms Synonyms: Meaning and Examples of Synonyms Figures of Speech: Meaning, Examples and Types of Figure of Speech Relative pronouns and Compound Relative Pronouns explained with Examples Transitive and Intransitive Verbs explained with Examples Phrase and Clause - Types and Examples of Phrase and Clause Essay - Formal, Semi-Formal and Informal Essays, Types of Essay

Academic Questions in English

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

Peter and Paul are always fighting _____.

  • A. themselves
  • B. each other
  • C. one another
  • D. the other

The young lady _____ tears when she heard about the disaster.

  • A. broke out into
  • B. broke out
  • C. broke into
  • D. broke off
  • E. broke down with
  • F. broke out with

The man is consistently assertive while his son is rather _____.

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

  • A. reserved
  • B. respectful
  • C. cautious
  • D. open minded
  • E. cowardly
  • F. brave

The plural form of advice is _____.

  • A. advices
  • B. advise
  • C. advice
  • D. advicies
  • E. advicer
  • F. advicers

Idioms are best defined as _____.

  • A. Sentences that are logically reversed
  • B. Words that relate to a specific sentence
  • C. A clause containing two or more phrases
  • D. Phrases whose meaning does not contain the individual words it contain
  • E. Illogical words with logical meanings
  • Rational words with partial meaning as used in the sentence

Her followers on social media considered her to be reprobate unlike her twin sister whom many see as being _____.

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

  • A. godly
  • B. morally upright
  • C. prudent
  • D. conservative
  • E. cautious
  • F. diligent

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

What is a Phrase:

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

Angela ate her breakfast after she exercised. (Sentence)

after she exercised. (This is a Phrase drawn out of the above sentence. Notice that it has no subject and verb)

Note: "Angela ate her breakfast" from the above is a complete sentence since it has a subject and a verb.

The phrase "after she exercised" has no subject; that is; (we don't know who exercised).

A phrase is a grammatical term referring to a group of words that do not have a subject and a verb.

Please read on Noun, Adjective, Subject, Predicate and Object of Sentences here.

The words in a phrase acts as a single unit but don't contain a subject and a predicate.

Note: A Predicate is part of a sentence that says something about the subject or object.

In most sentences, a phrase functions to provide more information. Let's see another example:

She worked as a teacher in Lagos. (Sentence)

in Lagos. (Phrase)

From the above example, in Lagos is a phrase because it has no subject and verb. Additionally, it provides more information about where "she worked".

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

The boy 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 group of words that does not have a subject and a verb, thus they don't make complete sense.

Types of Phrase

We have different types of phrase. They include:

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

The beautiful lady in the bank is my mother.

Notice that the phrase "in the bank" contains the noun "bank".

You can read on Relative Pronouns here.

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

She could be dancing, when we were studying.

Notice that the phrase "be dancing" contains the verb "dancing" with another word "be".

Please read on Transitive and Intransitive Verbs here.

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

Ade ate very quickly.

Notice that the phrase "very quickly" contains the adverb "quickly" which described the manner at which Ade ate.

Note: An adverb is a word that qualifies or describes a verb. "Ate" is the verb in the above instance and "quickly describes how Ade ate.

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.

From the above instance, "on" is the preposition; and the prepositional phrase "on the cupboard" contains the preposition "on and a noun "cupboard".

Note: A preposition is a word used to link nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other words within a sentence.

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.

Notice that the verb "dance" contains an "ing" which makes it a gerund. Its presence (dancing in the above phrase makes it a gerund phrase.

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 or complement. For example:

Tunde love to surprise children.

The above phrase is an infinitive phrase because it begins with the infinitive "to".

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

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

Notice that the appositive phrase "a fair beauty" describes; and replaces "the lady" in the above sentence.

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

The boys playing in the field never seemed to tire.

The baby cried through out the night.

Notice that the participle phrases "playing in the field" and "cried through out the night" describes the nouns "boys" and "baby" respectively.

9. Adjectival Phrase: They are group of words that function as an adjective in a sentence. For example:

The young man is handsome.

Notice that the phrase "is handsome" contains the adjective "handsome" which describes the young man.

Note: An adjective is a word that qualifies or describes a noun or a pronoun.

"Handsome" is the adjective in the above instance.


Meaning of a Clause

A Clause is a grammatical term containing a subject and a verb.

Note: 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. ("I" is the subject while "ate", the verb.

She danced. ("She" is the subject while "danced", the verb.

We all laughed. ("We" is the subject while "laughed", the verb.

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: They 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. Below are examples of dependent clauses:

Everyday before I go to work.

Whenever I ask the question.

As you can see from the above examples, a dependent clause will need an independent clause to make a complete thought.

In the examples below, the dependent clause had been added to the independent clauses (which are in bold):

Everyday before I go to work, I say a prayer.

Whenever I ask the question, Alfred replies.


Other types of clause include:

1. Noun or Nominal clause: It act as a noun in a 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.

Notice that the Noun or Nominal clause "what he is attempting to do" is a noun because it refers to a person.

2. Adverbial clause: It act as an adverb in a 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.

Notice that the adverbial clause "after the seminar was over" gives more detail to the verb "left".

3. Adjectival or Relative Clause: It acts as an adjective in a 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.

Notice that the Adjectival clause "who gave you sweets yesterday" gives more detail about the young man.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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The Letters “Ough” can be pronounced in about 10 different ways


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.

In English Language, to leave a party without notifying anyone is called “French Exit”.

In French Language, to leave a party without notifying anyone is called “partir à l’anglaise”,

Partir à l’anglaise actually  means "to leave like the English"


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.

Some words always exist in the plural form. Examples of such words are:

  • Scissors
  • Shears
  • Alms
  • News
  • Trousers

Possessive adjective tells you the owner of a thing. For instance;

This is his car.

His” in the above statement is describing him as the owner of the car; and this makes “his” a possessive adjective.

That is your bag.

Your” is a possessive adjective in the above statement.

Note: An adjective is a word that describes a noun.

Possessive pronouns show possession. A possessive pronoun will always correspond to with each of the personal pronouns. For Instance

I own the book. (“I” is a personal pronoun)

The book is mine. (“Mine” is the possessive pronoun)

She owns a car. (“She” is a personal pronoun)

The car is hers. (“Hers” is the possessive pronoun)