English Phrases and Clauses and difference between them

what are phrases and clauses

Dear Friend,

The chapter ‘Phrases’ and ‘Clauses’ are important to have a proper grip on the English language. It brings flexibility to your expression.

A phrase is a group of words with a definite meaning, but it does not give out a complete sense. Look at the following:

  • Go away – go afar
  • Go by – follow
  • Look for – search
  • Look into – investigate
  • Come across – meet by chance
  • Come by – obtain

All the above underlined are phrases, which have a definite meaning. But, they are not complete in sense.

A Clause is a group of words with its Subject and Predicate. So, it is like a sentence but not a sentence. It is a sentence in a big sentence. Look at the following:

  • That the earth is round is known to all.
  • I know a man who works in that factory.
  • I know him since I was a child.

In the above sentences, the underlined parts (the earth is round, who, works in that factory, and since I was a child) are Sub-ordinating or Dependent Clauses, while the parts written in bold letters are Principal or Main or Independent Clauses.

As words may be Nouns, Adjectives, or Adverbs, ‘Phrases’ and ‘Clauses’ too, maybe Nouns, Adjectives or Adverbs. Based on it, a Phrase or Clause is of three types:

  1. Noun – It behaves like a Noun.
  2. Adjective – It behaves like an Adjective.
  3. Adverb – It behaves like an Adverb.