Clauses and Phrases

Clauses and Phrases

Clauses and phrases are fundamental components while framing sentences. Clauses and phrases help build a system through which your words convey meaning when combined with other parts of speech. Knowing the difference between the two is very important to write properly constructed sentences with correct grammar.

What are clauses?

A group of words that can be a sentence but not necessarily act as a complete sentence on its own is called a clause. All clauses contain both a subject and a predicate. A predicate tells us what the subject is doing. Not all clauses can stand alone.Some can, some cannot. A few examples of clauses are given below.

Example 1: He sang. (“He” is the subject here. “Sang” is both the verb and the predicate. Even though the clause is only two words, it functions as an independent clause because it can stand alone as a sentence.)

Example 2: While he was singing, the audience was not able to take their eyes off him. In the second example, there are actually two clauses. The first “while he was singing” contains a subject (he) and a predicate (was singing), but it cannot stand alone as a sentence, making it a dependent clause. The second clause, “the audience was not able to take their eyes off him,” contains a subject (the audience) and a predicate (take their eyes off her), and because it can function as a sentence on its own, it is an independent clause.

What are phrases?

A phrase do not have the subject and verb combination and forms no predicate. It can contain a verb or a noun.But a phrase will not have a subject or predicate. A phrase provides some sort of additional information or provides more context to the sentences you write. A phrase can never stand alone as a sentence; however, a phrase can nestle itself inside clauses that are either complete sentences on their own or ones that are dependent on the rest of the sentence. When a phrase is within a clause, it functions as a part of speech. Below are a few examples of a phrase:

Example 3: The play was held at the Auditorium. (“At the auditorium” is a prepositional phrase. It does not have a subject or predicate, so it would not be able to stand alone as a sentence)