Clause and Phrase | Major Differences

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Clause and Phrase | Major Differences

In English, there are two grammatical terms, that forms part of a sentence which may or may not be meaningful. These are Clause and Phrase, wherein the phrase implies a set of words, that acts as a single unit but does not have a subject and predicate.

On the contrary, a clause is also a group of words, which contains a subject and a predicate. Now, let’s have a look at the examples given below, to understand the difference between phrase and clause in a better way:

  • She lives in Gujarat, since 2012.
  • I went to my home, after returning from the party, last night.

Definition of Phrase

A phrase refers to a combination of two or more words, that are related to one another and acts as a single unit, but does not contain a subject-verb pairing. It forms a part of a clause or sentence which is used to provide further information.

A phrase does not carry any meaning of its own, due to the absence of subject and verb, but it clarifies the context, of the sentence when added to a clause. There are six types of clauses:

  • Noun Phrase: E.g. The lady at the store is my mother.
  • Verb Phrase: E.g. She must be singing, at the interschool talent hunt.
  • Adverbial Phrase: E.g. Anirudh told me the truth very honestly.
  • Gerund Phrase: E.g. Vaanya and her friends enjoyed a lot, dancing at the party.
  • Infinitive Phrase: E.g. Tarun likes to surprise others.
  • Prepositional Phrase: E.g. You can find the food on the table.

In the above examples, you might have observed, there are nouns and verbs too, but in no case, the nouns act as the subject of the sentence, doing a predicate verb.

Definition of Clause

When in a set of words, there is a subject actively performing an action (verb), then that combination of words, is called as a clause. A clause can function as a sentence, which may or may not be a complete one.

There are two parts in a clause, i.e. a subject and a predicate. The predicate expresses something with respect to the subject. There are various types of clauses which are given as under:

  • Adverbial clause: E.g. After the party was over, the band left for Mumbai, for the next concert.
  • Adjective (relative) clause: E.g. The child, who gave you chocolate yesterday, is my niece.
  • Independent (main) clause: E.g. Jane talks slowly, at the library.
  • Dependent (subordinate) clause: E.g. I had food before I left for the office.
  • Noun clause: E.g. I know what she is trying to hide

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