Phrases: definition, types and examples.

In this lesson, we are going to look at Phrases, their types with examples.

A phrase is a group of words without a subject and a verb and it is a part of a sentence.

A phrase cannot stand by itself as a sentence.

A sentence can have many phrases.

There are nine common phrase types: noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, adverb phrase, prepositional phrase, infinitive phrase, gerund phrase, participial phrase, and appositive phrase.

Phrases: types with examples: 

Noun phrase:

a noun phrase is a group of words that consists of a noun and it’s determiners or modifiers. The whole phrase works as a noun.


  • The black car is mine
  • The green book is about grammar
  • The build becomes a nice, big house

Verb Phrase: 

The verb phrase consists of the main verb + auxiliary verbs-(AKA helping verbs).


  • He is writing a new novel
  • was studying grammar
  • will be waiting for you

Adjective phrase: 

an adjective phrase acts as an adjective within the sentence and modifies a noun or pronoun in the sentence.


  • The car at the corner is mine
  • The book on the table is mine
  • I gave her a nice beautiful gift


  • (at the corner) In the first example, acts as an adjective that modifies the noun car.
  • (on the table) in the second example acts as an adjective phrase that modifies the noun book.
  • (a nice beautiful) in the last example acts also as an adjective phrase and modifies the noun gift.

Adverb phrase: 

an adverb phrase consists of an adverb and acts as an adverb. Like any adverb, an adverbial phrase modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.


  • I wrote my novel with a special pen
  • I solve my exercises in a different way
  • We are watching a good new film


  • (with a special pen) In the first example, acts as an adverb that modifies the verb wrote.
  • (in a different way) in the second example acts as an adverb phrase that modifies the verb solve.
  • (a good new film) in the last example acts also as an adverb phrase and modifies the verb watch.

Prepositional phrase: 

a prepositional phrase is a phrase that consists of a preposition and its object is a noun or pronoun.


  • She was sitting on the chair
  • The lesson was in an amphitheater
  • The university occurs beside the market

Infinitive phrase: 

an infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive + the base form of the verb; (to + base verb). It acts within the sentence as a noun, an adjective or an adverb.


  • She loves to read books
  • To get high marks, you have to study hard
  • I am following a special diet to gain weight

Gerund phrase: 

a gerund phrase is a phrase that consists of a gerund (verb+ing), and acts as a noun within the sentence.


  • Playing video games is my hobby
  • I enjoy driving supercars
  • Drawing nature makes me feel better

Participial phrase: 

a participle phrase consists of a participle, that always acts as an adjective within a sentence. The participle can be a present participle (end with ing) or a past participle (end with ed).


  • The car was broken making strange sounds
  • The grammar book was disappeared within the mess
  • Students left without made a noise

Appositive phrase: 

an appositive phrase defines a noun and provides non-necessary extra information.


  • Paris, the beautiful city, visited by hundreds every year
  • Professor John, a kind person, is my new friend
  • Cheetah, the fastest animal, has a special body

you have also to be aware of the 8 parts of speech that we have already covered before in order to construct different types of phrases.

You can check the 8 parts of speech lesson from here.

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