Posts Tagged ‘clauses’

What are Clauses and Phrases – Part II

December 15th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL, Improve English


Read the sentences given below:

I don’t know what she means.
She is very hard working.
The fish tasted awful.
The train is behind schedule.
It is getting dark.

Each of the groups of words given above makes complete sense. Such a group of words which makes complete sense and can stand by itself is called a sentence. Note that a sentence can consist of any number of clauses, but it must have at least one main clause.

A sentence has the following properties:

a) A sentence is a group of words.
b) It has a subject and a predicate.
c) A sentence expresses a complete thought.
d) A sentence consists of at least one main clause.

The phrase

We have seen that a phrase is a group of words which often does the work of an adjective, an adverb or a noun in a sentence. A phrase does not have a finite verb, but it may contain a non-finite verb like an infinitive, a participle or a gerund.

There are three kinds of phrases and they are as follows: adjective phrases, adverb phrases and noun phrases.

Adjective phrase

As the name itself indicates, an adjective phrase does the work of an adjective.

Read the sentences given below:

He is a wealthy man.
He is a man of wealth.

Here the word ‘wealthy’ qualifies the noun man. It is therefore an adjective. In the second sentence the phrase ‘of wealth’ qualifies the noun man just like an adjective. It is therefore an adjective phrase.

More examples are given below:

He belongs to a hill tribe.
He belongs to a tribe dwelling in the hills.

Here the adjective ‘hill’ and the adjective phrase ‘dwelling in the hills’ both modify the noun tribe.

It is a golden necklace. (Adjective – golden; noun – necklace)
It is a necklace made of gold. (Adjective phrase – made of gold; noun – necklace)

In the examples given below compare the adjectives with their equivalent adjective phrases.

A blue shirt = A shirt of blue color.
A wooden chair = A chair made of wood.
A popular hero = A hero liked by people