Phrases and Clauses: A Complete Guide to Sentence Building Blocks

Phrases and Clauses: A Complete Guide to Sentence Building Blocks

31 Oct 2023 2670 16 minutes

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Have you ever thought what the difference between phrases and clauses is? Well, you need to admit that everyone at the start thinks clause and phrase as two similar things, but that’s not correct, you are wrong. If you want to learn more about the phrases and clauses, keep your eyes open and read the blog till the end.

The phrases are a group of words that express the concept used in the sentence. It does not contain a verb and a subject. On the other hand, a clause is a group of words that contains a verb and a subject inside it. It is a part of the sentence that can also work as a full sentence in itself. In a sentence, one part with the verb and a subject is known as a clause, and the rest without the subject and verb is known as a phrase. To understand it more, here is an overview:-

A Quick Overview on Clauses vs Phrases

Clause vs Phrase is a battle going on for a long time. Aussie students often get confused and find themselves dwindling when the professor assigns them a task related to clause and phrase. Phrases and clauses are the building blocks of the sentence. Without having these two in a sentence, the sentence can’t be completed and will always make illogical meaning.

The phrase is a part of speech that cannot stand alone in the sentence because the words inside it work as a singular part. It can also function as a noun, adverb, verb, or adjective. If the students can grasp the understanding of the types of phrases, they can avoid leaving them dangled in the sentence.

Clauses are the group of words that contains subject and verb inside them. Some of the clauses are capable of working even in the place of a sentence. And some of them need to depend on the rest of the sentence to express its complete meaning because they are part of the speech.

Now let’s understand them in terms of a sentence. Clause and phrase are the groups of words that act as a singular unit and perform a single function in the sentence. The sentence can have any number of clauses and phrases inside it. To get you a better understanding of it, here is an example- “She laughs at shy people.” Here, ‘she laughs’ is a clause, and ‘at shy people’ is a phrase that connects with the clause and makes a proper logical sentence.

To make rational sentences that sounds more logical, student needs to get good grasp on the type of phrases and clauses.

Types of Clauses and Phrases with Examples of How to Use Them?

Phrases and clauses are a combination of words, and we hope you must have understood them in the previous part. But that information is not sufficient to get a grasp on the topic; students should have basic information on the types of phrases and clauses. After understanding the types clearly, students can also easily improve their sentence formation.

Types of Phrases and Their Examples:-

There are 8 types of phrases that are used as a part of speech. They are- Noun, Verb, Gerund, Infinitive, Appositive, Participle, Prepositional, and Absolute.

Noun Phrase - They are the group of words that act as a part of speech and perform a function of nouns. They can act as a subject, object, and prepositional object in a sentence.


  • The spotted puppy is up for adoption.
  • At the zoo, I saw a striped zebra.
  • The car wash was out of order.
  • The delta airline flight is ready to take off for New York.
  • She crawled through the dark and musty attic.

Verb Phrase - Verb phrase is the type of phrase that includes helping verb and main verb. Understanding this phrase is important because it helps students in speaking, writing, and in avoiding errors.


  • The author is drafting a new book.
  • He was walking to work today.
  • My friend got married after college.
  • I made an ‘A’ in the class.
  • The dog eats the cake

Gerund Phrases - These phrases are also known as the shapeshifter of the English language. They are created from the verbs, but they perform the function of a noun.


  • Swimming laps is the most relaxing activity in the world.
  • Filling paper can give you a paper cut.
  • Writing is an exchange of ideas.
  • Signing autographs can take time.
  • Taking my dog for a walk is fun.

Infinitive Phrases - The infinitive phrases are those phrases that begin with an infinitive verb. An infinitive verb is a base form of the verb that begins with ‘to.’


  • To make lemonade , you need to start with lemons.
  • To see Niagara falls with an eye is mind-blowing .
  • I went to Brazil to study the culture and language .
  • To donate time is an honourable thing.
  • He needs to get his priority in order .

Appositive Phrases - This is the type of phases that defines nouns. An appositive noun is used to provide more details in the sentence. They are the two nouns that work together, where one noun defines the other.


  • His horse, an Arabian , was his pride and joy.
  • My wife, the love of my life , is also my best friend.
  • A cheetah, the fastest animal on earth , can run 75 miles per hour.
  • The Florida panther, the national animal of Florida , is an endangered species.

Participle Phases - The phrase that begins with present participles is known as participle phrase.


  • Knowing what I know now , I wish I had never come here in the first place.
  • I am excited, considering all the people that will be there .
  • Grinning from ear to ear , she accepted her award.
  • The lake,frozen all over winter, is now started melting .

Prepositional Phrases - The phrases that begin with a preposition and also work as a noun in a sentence is known as prepositional phrases.


  • The glass was on the table .
  • He knew the bird was over the cloud .
  • He was lost in the dark of night .
  • I waited for a while .

Absolute Phrases - The absolute phrases are those phrases that modify the whole sentence and not just a noun. It has a subject but no action verb, so it can not stand alone at the place of the sentence.


  • Tail between his legs , the dog moves out of the house.
  • Basket in hand , she set off for a date.
  • The entire team, with their uniform in mud , shouted for joy.
  • Their heads are down ; their whole group is apologizing

These are the types of phrases with examples that can help Aussie students to understand the phrases in-depth. Now, it is time to understand the clauses.

Types of Clauses and Their Examples:-

The clauses are of 4 types- Independent Clause, Subordinate known as Dependent Clause, Adjective known as Relative Clause, and Noun Clause.

Main Clause - These are the clauses that can stand alone at the place of a sentence without depending on any other part of speech.


  • Logan kicked the vending machine.
  • A cockroach is spreading its wings behind the shampoo bottle in the bathroom.
  • Marshall and Kim are skipping their physics classes to sit by the lake.

Subordinate Clause - These are the clauses that cannot stand alone at the place of a sentence without the help of any other part of speech. Usually, it depends on the main clause to be logical; that’s why it is also known as a dependent clause.


  • After Anny sneezed all over the burger...
  • Once Louis smashed the cockroach...
  • Until Mr . Sparrow has his first cup of tea...

Adjective Clause - These are the clauses that are associated with relative pronouns like who, which, that, etc.


  • Burger, which most people love , is not a healthy dish.
  • Those students who have a name on the list are the only ones selected for the camp.
  • My grandfather still remembersthe days when humans were not controlled by technologies .

Noun Clause - The noun clause is also a dependent clause, but it starts with words like- how, that, what, whatever, where, which, who, whoever, etc.


  • Tell me who’s shoes are this?
  • Whoever leaves last , turn off the lights.
  • The boy in a red shirt is who I want in my team.

These are types of clauses that can help students to understand them easily.

Still there are some students who cannot diffrentiate between clause & phrase. To help them understand it here is:-

What Is the Difference Between a Clause and a Phrase?

Many students struggle in stating the difference between phrase and clause. To help those students, here is the table that shows the difference:-



A word or a group of words that have a subject and a verb.

A word or a group of words that do not have a subject and a verb.

Clauses are the component of the sentence.

Phrases are the components of the clause.

All the words in the clause have meaning, and collectively they can also work at the place of a sentence with logical meaning.

All the words in a phrase have meaning, but collectively they don’t sound logical.

Clauses can convey thoughts and ideas.

Phrases can’t convey thoughts and ideas.

Examples:- He waited for her, but she never came.

Example:- Taking my dog for a walk s fun.

This table can help Aussie students in answering a question like- what is the difference between clause and a phrase? 

Stuck in a Worksheet or Quiz? Contact Global Assignment Help Australia

Many Australian students find themselves struggling in the worksheet and quiz on phrases and clauses. For that, they seek help from online assignment help. Students who are struggling in the phrases and clauses can take service from Global Assignment Help Australia. It is one most trusted websites that are present in the online market, and students have blind faith in us. Those students who already took help from us know that no one in an online market can solve their query from the root other than us. The features that make us exceptional are:-

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