Phrase and Clause

Phrase and Clause


In the English Language, a sentence is comprised of various parts. Together these all parts form a sentence. Almost every part of a sentence has its own importance and relevance to the overall structure of a sentence.

Though the understanding of these parts may be simple, they create a lot of confusion together making it difficult for many people to understanding the relevance and importance of them in a sentence. The most confusing and difficult pair appeared to be the Clause and Phrase. A handful of people are unable to grasp the basic definitions and relevance of these two terms in a sentence.

Difference between Phrase and Clause

Though phrase and clause are two different terms with different definitions, many people get confused as they have some common features. In this article, we will explore the meaning and definition of the terms Clause and Phrase. We will explain how these two terms are used in a sentence and what importance these terms hold in a sentence.

What is a Clause?

“A clause is a group of words in a sentence which contains a subject and a verb.”

For Instance,

“The girl is playing”

In the above-mentioned sentence, we see that the girl is a subject and playing is the verb. So “girl is playing” is simply a clause as it contains both subject and verb.

It is worth noticing that a clause may contain an object too along with the subject and the verb.

In order to differentiate between the clause and phrase, a clause is considered to be a “set of words” which means that anything that makes a sense can be termed as the clause. It doesn’t require any additional words or helping material to support or complete it.

For Instance,

“Ayesha smiled”

The above-mentioned sentence is quite clear in its original form. The moment we read the sentence we instantly picked the meaning of the sentence that is very clear.

Moreover, it is also observed that a single sentence can have two clauses at the same time.  For example,

“He looked everywhere but the cat was gone”

In this sentence, he looked everywhere is the first clause while the cat was gone is the second clause.

Likewise, long and complicated sentences can include more than two clauses in them.

What is a Phrase?

“A Phrase is a group of words in a sentence that does NOT contain a subject and a verb.” In simple words, one part of the sentence carrying subject and verb is called the clause while the rest of the part having other parts of speech is a phrase.

For Instance,

“On the wall, in the water, over the horizon”

Looking up at the above-mentioned example, we have observed that all these words are devoid of subject and verb. Hence these words are termed as the “phrases”.

Then comes the second case, where we can observe both clauses and phrases in a sentence.

“Nimra is playing in the garden”

In this sentence, Nimra is playing is a clause that I have explained earlier while ‘in the garden’ is a phrase.

One of the easiest ways of differentiating between a phrase and a clause is that a phrase is unable to make a complete sense while a clause can easily make a sentence. A phrase requires other terms and words for completion of the sentence.

This point will get clearer when you will use the term ‘in the garden’ alone, it will not convey the exact meaning and you will end up being confused. So, a phrase is considered a set of words that are unable to explain their meaning when used alone.

Phrase and Clause
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Phrase and Clause
Though phrase and clause are two different terms with different definitions, many people get confused as they have some common features.
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