English Grammar Lessons Phrases & Clauses
Introduction to Phrases
Phrases are considered as the second level of classification as they tend to be larger than individual words, but are smaller than sentences. We refer to the central element in a phrase as the head of the phrase. If the head is a noun then the phrase is called a noun phrase.
There are nine generally accepted classifications for phrases. These classifications are generally based on the headword or construction of the phrase. The headword can usually stand alone as a one-word phrase. It is the only part that cannot be omitted from the phrase.1. Noun phrases
Noun phrases may serve as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, or objects of prepositions. Most noun phrases
are constructed using determiners, adjectives and a head noun.
Verb phrases are composed of the verbs of the sentence and any modifiers of the verbs, including adverbs, prepositional
phrases or objects. Most verb phrases function as predicates of sentences.
Adjectival phrases are composed of the adjectives that modify a noun and
any adverbs or other elements that modify those adjectives. Adjectival phrases
always occur inside noun phrases or as predicate adjectives.
Adverbial phrases are composed of the adverbs that modify verbs, adjectives, or clauses. Adverbial phrases may occur
with more than one word. The extra adverb is called an intensifier.
Prepositional phrases are composed of the preposition and a
following noun phrase. Prepositional phrases are used either adjectivally to modify nouns or adverbially to modify verbs,
adjectives, or clauses.
Gerundive phrases may function in any way in which nouns may function: as subjects,
objects, objects of a preposition, or even nouns functioning as adjectives
Gerundive phrases may contain gerunds, adjectives, objects, adverbs or other
main verb elements.
Participles are root verbs with an "ed, en or ing" suffix. In the case of the past participial,
the form may be irregular. Participial phrases may contain objects and other elements that might occur with main verbs.
Participial phrases always function as adjectives.
Absolute phrases are composed of a subject noun phrase and a participial phrase. The absolute phrase is formally
independent of the main clause. The subject of the absolute phrase does not have to appear in the main clause--because
the absolute phrase has its own subject!
Infinitive phrases are composed of an infinitive verb (the base form of the
verb preceded by to) and any modifing adverbs or prepositional phrases. The
infinitive phrase has three functions: noun, adjective, adverb.
Introduction to Clauses
All clauses have a subject and a verb.1. Independent clause
This clause is a sentence and can act as a sentence.
A subordinate clause has a subordinator.
Adverbial clauses modify the entire independent clause or another subordinate clause to which they might be attached.
Some adverbial subordinators:" because, while, as, if, when, although, as if, after, since, unless, before, until".
Adverbial clauses signal common adverbial meanings such as time of the event, place of the event, manner of the event, cause
of the event or condition for the event.
Relative clauses modify nouns and sometimes indefinite pronouns. Relative clauses occur with the relative pronouns
"that, who, which, whom, whose" Relative clauses may also begin with the following relative adverbs "when,
Nominal clauses function as nouns and are subordinated by one of the following subordinating conjunctions 'how that
what when where whether which who why". Nominal clauses may be replaced with a pronoun
Sentence ConstructionsCompound sentences
Compound sentences are constructed using two independant clauses.
Complex sentences are constructed using an independant sentence and a dependant or subordinated clause.
Compound - Complex sentences are constucted using two independant sentences or clauses and a dependant clause.
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