A sentence’s phrase and clause are critical components. Identifying them can be difficult, especially during competitive exams. In the objective sections of competitive exams, candidates may be asked questions based on phrases and clauses in sentence correction or recognising errors. In this guide, you can learn to recognise phrases and clauses and their differences. Both phrases and clauses are made up of two or more words and aid in forming sentences, but they serve different purposes. Let’s begin with the phrase and clause definition, their types, and then move towards the difference between phrase and clause.
What is a phrase?
A phrase is defined as a set of words that may comprise the components of a sentence, such as a noun or a verb. A phrase is a group of words consisting of parts of speech, like a noun or a verb, that does not combine a subject and a predicate. A phrase makes the sentence meaningful. A sentence is made up of phrases, but it would not work as a complete sentence if you were to isolate a phrase within a sentence.
There are eight different types of phrases.
The following are some of the most prevalent phrases.
- A noun phrase is made up of a noun and the adjective modifiers that go with it.
- A verb phrase consists of an action word and the modifiers that go with it.
- The gerund phrase starts with a gerund (a verb that ends in -ing and behaves as a noun) and includes its modifiers.
- Infinitive phrase: A phrase that starts with the word “to” and ends with the word “to.”
- An appositive phrase is a comma-separated phrase that redefines a noun by adding essential or non-essential information.
- A participial phrase that starts with a past or present participle modifies a verb used as an adjective or a noun.
- As the name suggests, a prepositional phrase begins with a preposition to describe the position or state of the subject of a sentence.
- Absolute phrase: An absolute phrase has a subject but not an action verb, and it is used to modify a whole sentence.
What is a clause?
A clause is that part of a sentence that can act as a complete thought on its own or as part of a more significant statement. Clauses have a subject and a verb in them. Sentences are made up of independent and conditional sentences that define a subject, location, emotion, and action.
In English grammatical structures, there are four different categories of clauses. The four primary types of clauses in English grammar are listed below.
- Main clause: A subject and a verb are found in the main clause. It can be used by itself or in conjunction with a subordinate clause to convey further information.
- A subordinate clause is a subsidiary phrase that is linked to the main sentence by subordinate conjunction such as “because,” “as,” or “while.” A subordinate clause might be the main clause without the conjunction, but the subordinate conjunction makes it a vague notion.
- A clause is called a dependent or adverbial clause when a primary phrase is connected with a relative pronoun or a relative adverb.
- A noun clause is the type of clause that takes the place of a single noun.
What is the difference between a clause and a phrase?
Phrases help make sentences more meaningful, but they can’t make a sentence independently.
Clauses, on the other hand, are essential. The removal of a clause from a sentence may impact comprehension.
Looking for both a subject and a verb is the simplest way to tell if a set of words is a phrase or a clause. It’s a clause if you can discover both. It’s a phrase if you can only find one or the other.
Below is a simple example that will make it easy for you to understand phrases and clause:
Wherever you are, take care of yourself.
‘Wherever you are’ is the phrase, and ‘take care of yourself’ is the clause.
‘Wherever you are’ doesn’t make sense on its own. This part does not give complete meaning and feels incomplete. But, ‘take care of yourself ‘ contains both a subject and a verb—’take’ and ‘you’—respectively. It’s a complete thought, and we don’t need any more words to understand the sentence’s meaning.
The building elements are easy to recall the distinction between a phrase and a clause. A clause comprises phrases, and a sentence is made up of clauses.
Phrase – Clause – Sentence
How can we make clauses out of phrases?
The first step in creating a complete sentence is to turn phrases into clauses.
To make a phrase into a clause, you must give it significance by adding a subject and a verb.
Phrase → add subject → adds a verb→clause.
Phrases and clauses are an essential part of a sentence, also called building blocks of the sentence. For a sentence to be a complete sentence, the phrase and the clause have to be there. A phrase is a group of words comprising parts of speech, like a noun or a verb, that does not combine a subject and a predicate. Therefore, the phrases don’t make sense on their own. On the other hand, the clause is a part of a sentence that can deliver a complete thought independently or as part of a more significant statement. The clauses contain a subject and a verb.