Phrases

Introduction

Here, we start the construction of your writing with the phrase, one of the key building blocks of the sentence. There are several different kinds of phrases, including prepositional phrases (with the subcategories adjectival phrases and adverbial phrases), appositives, and verbals. In this section, you learn them all. First, I teach you the individual parts of each different phrase and then ease you into the phrases themselves.

Phrases of the Moon

A phrase is a group of words that functions in a sentence as a single part of speech. A phrase does not have a subject or a verb. As you write, you use phrases to …

  • Add detail by describing.
  • Make your meaning more precise.
  • Fold in additional information.

The following table shows the different types of phrases.

Different Types of Phrases
Type of PhraseDefinitionExample
PrepositionalBegins with a preposition and ends with a noun or a pronounby the lake
AdjectivalPrepositional phrase that funtions as an adjectiveShe has a fish with red gills.
AdverbialPrepositional phrase that functions as an adverb.We cheered with loud voices.
AppositiveNoun or pronoun that renames another noun or pronoun.Lou, a Viking, enjoys plunder.
VerbalA verb form used as another part of speech.(See the following three entries.)
ParticipleVerbal phrase that functions as an adjective.Eating slowly, the child was finally quiet.
GerundVerbal phrase that functions as a nounPartying hearty requires great endurance.
InfinitiveVerbal phrase that functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb.To sleep late on Sunday is a real treat.
book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style © 2003 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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