What is a Phrase?

A phrase, in a sentence, is a group of related words that complement the structure of sentence.

A phrase is always an important part of a sentence. A phrase cannot stand alone as it does not contain a subject and a verb. Hence, a phrase (as alone) does not give a complete idea. It is used to complement the overall structure of a sentence.

It usually consists of articles, preposition or noun. e.g. on a table, at the door, in a box, on the roof.


She is standing on the roof.
The cat is sleeping under the table.
She is drawing a map on the wall.
Someone is waiting at the door.
The kid sat beside her mother.
Students are looking at the black-board.
The dog is barking at a stranger.
The girl, in the brown shirt, won the debate.
The students, at the hall, were making a noise.

 A phrase is an important part of a sentence. A phrase acts as a noun, an adjective or an adverb in a sentence. Hence, a phrase can also be defined as a group of related words (lacking a subject and a verb) that acts a single part of speech in a sentence.

Read the following examples:

She wrote an interesting story.                              (as a noun: object)
One of my friends has gone America.                  (as a noun: subject)
The girl in the white shirt won the competition.  (as adjective modifying the noun: girl)
He gave me a cup full of tea.                                     (as adjective modifying the noun: cup)
She came back in a short while.                               (as adverb modifying the verb: come)
He welcomed the guests in a cordial way.         (as adverb modifying the verb: welcome)

Depending upon its function in a sentence, the phrases are divided into many types such as: Noun phrase, Verb Phrase, Adjective Phrase, Adverb Phrase, Appositive Phrase, Infinite Phrase and Gerund Phrase. Click here to read the 'Types of Phrases'.