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Common Types Of Phrases In English Grammar

Phrases are parts of the basic building blocks of writing.  Unable to stand on its own as a complete sentence or express a complete thought, it either lacks a predicate, a subject or both.

Having an understanding of how different kinds of phrases work will allow you  to create sentences that communicate better, expressing thoughts that are more complete and descriptive.   Here are five of the most common of those types:

  1. Noun phrase.  This type of phrase consists of a noun and all its modifiers, fitting into sentences as either a subject, object or complement.
  2. Appositive phrase.  When a phrase functions as a noun that renames a noun or pronoun that comes before, it’s called an appositive phrase.   Usually, you’ll find this enclosed between commas or inserted after a comma at the end of a sentence.
  3. Verb phrase.  A phrase that consists of a main verb and its helping verbs, a verb phrase serves its sole function as a predicate in a sentence.
  4. Absolute phrase.  This type of phrase will often include a noun or pronoun combined with a participle, as well as any object, modifiers or complements for the phrase.   Its purpose is to modify an entire sentence, rather than just a single word.
  5. Prepositional phrase.  Made up of a preposition, with its object and modifiers, a prepositional phrase usually functions as an adjective or an adverb, although it can be used as a noun, as well.

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