|a purple pen||noun phrase|
|been watching||verb phrase|
|red, round balls||adjective phrase|
|spoke loudly||adverb phrase|
|out the door||prepositional phrase|
When there is more than one word forming a meaningful unit within a clause, this is known as a phrase. The English language has five main types of phrases. Read on to learn more.
When a group of words is built around a single noun, this is known as a noun phrase. Take a look at the following examples:
- Don’t go near the water.
- Whose purple pen is this?
- She refilled the stapler.
When a phrase contains a main verb and an auxiliary verb, this is known as a verb phrase. Take a look at the following examples:
- How long have you been waiting?.
- I will need to walk my dog.
- My family and I have been on vacation.
When a group of words is built around a single adjective, this is known as an adjective phrase. It can also be a group of words. Take a look at the following examples:
- He was soaked by the cold rain.
- We wandered into the dark cave.
- The black wolf spooked us.
When a group of words are built around a single adverb, this is known as an adverb phrase. It can also be a group of words. Take a look at the following examples:
- We go to the park often.
- He ran around the race track quickly.
- The soldiers fought bravely.
When a group of words consists of a preposition followed by its object (usually a noun phrase), this is known as a prepositional phrase. Take a look at the following examples:
- We travelled around the world.
- She found a shell near the ocean.
- Alice looked through the looking glass.
Study the table below. It shows all phrase types in one sentence:
|She||has been reading||the||old||tattered||book||for two weeks.|
Remember that the word “phrase” describes any short grouping of words, such as “raining cats and dogs” and “to tell the truth”.
What is a Sentence?
|This||is a sentence.|
A sentence has two parts:
- a subject (what the sentence is about)
- a predicate (what is said about the subject)
Look at the following table:
This sentence is short. Sometimes sentences are short and at other times they are longer. There must always be a subject and a predicate. Study the following table:
|Rebecca||writes||books for a living.|
The predicate must always contain a verb. The predicate is only a verb in some sentences:
At the minimum, a sentence must have a subject and a verb. There is only one type of sentence that is the exception: the imperative sentence. Usually, when someone gives a command, they do not use a subject. They do not say a subject because the subject is always the same. The subject is: you. This is the basis of an imperative sentence. Take a look at the following chart:
A sentence should always express a complete thought. Study the following table:
|sentence||She read a book.||YES|
|Please stop that.|
|Do you want to go to the park?|
|not a sentence||A hot coffee cup||NO|
|Underneath the car|
A sentence always begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark, such as a period, question mark, or an exclamation point. Read the following examples:
- Let’s go swimming.
- Is this where you live?
- Be quiet!
Even though it may look easy to define a sentence, this is not true. People who study grammar do not all agree on what a sentence is. Because this is an introductory lesson, the sentences in this lesson are simplistic. Sentences can be quite complex, but we will cover that in a later lesson.
|There Are Four Types Of Sentences:|
In the “What is a Sentence?” section, we saw the basic rules of forming a sentence. Now we dig a little deeper and look at the four types of sentences and sentence structure.
A sentence that is made up of only one independent clause is known as a simple sentence. (An independent clause contains a subject, verb and expresses a complete thought)
- I want to dance.
- My brother wants to play football.
- The horse jumps over the fence.
- Anna lights a candle.
When a sentence has two or more independent clauses joined by either a conjunction or semicolon, this is known as a compound sentence. Either clause could form a sentence if used alone.
|Independent Clause||Coordinating Conjunction||Independent Clause|
- I like dancing, but my brother likes football.
- The trees blew in the wind; a tornado was coming.
- The horse jumps over the fence, and the rider falls off its back.
Take a look at the coordinating conjunctions. There are seven.
- and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so
When a sentence is made up of an independent clause and a dependent clause, this is known as a complex sentence. A dependent clause contains a subject, verb, subordinating conjunction or a pronoun, but it does not express a complete thought.
|Independent Clause||Subordinating Conjunction||Dependent Clause|
- She failed the exam although she studied.
- We exercise until we are tired.
- My coffee was bitter before I added creamer.
- Everyone laughed after the comedian told a joke.
Take a look at some common subordinating conjunctions:
- after, although, as, because, before, how, if, once, since, than, that, though, till, until, when, where, whether, while
Take a look at the five basic relative pronouns:
- that, which, who, whom, whose
When you have a sentence with at least two independent clauses and more than one dependent clause, this is called a compound-complex sentence.
|Independent Clause||Subordinating Clause||Dependent Clause||Coordinating Conjunction||Independent Clause|
- Stephanie forgot Maryann’s birthday, but when she finally remembered, she bought her a cake.
- I do not like thriller novels although I like other types of novels, but my brother loves them.
Another name for a dependent clause is a subordinate clause.
While the above examples are basic sentences, there are more complex sentences. In these examples, a dependent clause may come before an independent one.