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Phrase vs Clause - Difference between Clause and Phrase

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 Krishna   August 8, 2022  Assignment  0

In the English language, a sentence has multiple parts where each part serves its relative purpose. Phrases and clauses are two different parts of a sentence with some similar features which most learners find it challenging to identify. Want to learn about phrase vs clause in detail? Read on to find out and get help with your english homework

Phrase Vs. Clause: A Detailed Explanation

Phrases and clauses act the building blocks of sentences. Unless you understand the vital elemental aspects of a phrase vs clause, implementing them in a sentence will be difficult. So, what exactly are clauses and phrases?

Definition of Phrase

A phrase is a group of some words which doesn't contain a subject-verb pairing. In other words, a phrase is a combination of two or more words which is a part of a speech but doesn’t stand alone as a sentence.

Example: over the top, on the wall, a piece of cake.

Definition of Clause

In a sentence, a clause contains a subject and a verb. A clause may carry a meaning of its own which may or may not make a complete sentence. It has two parts – a subject and a predicate. Example: “Shane speaks loudly” or “I eat oranges.”

Subject + verb (predicate). = complete thought

I eat. = complete thought

List of Various Types of Phrases and Clauses With Examples

Phrases vs clause can be dissected into different fragments, based on their attributes. Below are the various types of phrases and clauses with examples to help you understand the differences between clauses and phrases.

Types of Phrases

Six common types of phrases are:

Noun Phrase: Acts like a noun which comes with additional modifiers

Example: The man on the bike is my uncle.

Verb Phrase: Group of verbs working together

Example: He must be reciting at the inter-school elocution competition.

Adverbial Phrase: Acts as an adverb which modifies the meaning of verbs or other adverbs within the sentence

Example: Peter told me the reality very honestly. 

Gerund Phrase: A gerund is a word that ends with “-ing.” Similarly, a gerund phrase contains an “-ing”, comes with some modifiers and exclusively functions as a noun.

Example: Van and his colleagues enjoyed a lot, drinking at the bar.

Infinitive Phrase: Such phrases include an infinitive (to+ verb form) and can act as a noun, adjective or adverb in a sentence.

Example: Ricky likes to read comics.

Prepositional Phrase: Starts with a preposition and a noun or pronoun and the modifiers.

Example: You can find the book on the bed.

Types of Clauses

Five common types of clauses include:

  • Independent clause: Stands alone as a sentence with the smallest form of subject-verb pairing. ExampleJack speaks slowly in the classroom.
  • Dependent clause: Cannot stand alone and requires another clause to make a clear idea. Example: I drank water before I left for the airport.
  • Adverbial clause: A type of a dependent clause with a subject and a verb. Acts as an adverb in the sentence. Example: After the game was over, the team left for New York, for a memorial service.
  • Adjective clause: A dependent clause with a subject and a verb. Acts as an adjective in the sentence. Example: The boy who gave you the book yesterday is my son.
  • Noun clause: Contains a verb and a subject that cannot make independent sentences.Example: I know what he is trying to say.

Now that you know the basic types of clauses and phrases, let’s discuss some significant differences between a phrase and a clause.

Key Differences between a Phrase and a Clause

The following are the substantial differences between a phrase and a clause:

  • A phrase doesn't complete thought on its own and is dependent on other words to make sense, whereas a clause is a part of a sentence that contains a subject-verb pairing that may/may not complete the sentence.
  • A phrase is a part of a sentence or clause. On the other hand, a clause is a sentence fragment.
  • A phrase doesn’t have a subject and predicate, whereas a clause does.
  • A phrase cannot stand alone. In contrast, an independent clause conveys a clear idea, but a dependent clause requires other words to complete a thought.

Identifying phrases and clauses could become complicated if you lack a basic understanding. However, you can easily differentiate if you develop a habit of practice.

Learn More about Phrase vs Clause from Our Grammar Experts

The context of a phrase vs clause itself is critical to grammatical accuracies. Mastering the basics can undoubtedly improve the quality of your paper. To more about phrase vs clause and how to identify various phrases and clauses in complex sentences, you need the guidance of our grammar experts. We guarantee

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