What are Phrases and Clauses with Examples and Excercises

What are Phrases and Clauses with Examples and Excercises

A phrase is a part of a sentence. It is a group of words (within a sentence) that does not contain both subject and finite verb. It does not express a complete idea?

Look at these examples: Phrases and Clauses with Examples


  • He is standing near a wall.
  • I found a lot of cigarettes in the garage.


Kinds of Phrases – Phrases and Clauses with Examples

There are different kinds of phrases based on different parts of speech. They are as follows:


Noun Phrase:


A noun phrase simply consists of a noun and any words that describe it.


  1. Those houses are very expensive.
  2. The crazy old lady in the park feeds the pigeons every day.

Adjective Phrase:


An adjective phrase is a group of words that describe a noun or pronoun in a sentence, The adjective phrase can be placed before, or after the noun or pronoun in the sentence. A group of words that does the work of an adjective is called an adjective phrase. 


  1. The highly emotive actor gave a wonderful performance.
  2. He was wearing a dark brown suit.
  3. She got this lovely blue dress today. (modifies noun: dress)
  4. The boy from my school is going to play in the finals. (modifies noun: boy)


Adverb Phrase:


An adverb phrase is simply two or more words that act as an adverb) It can modify a verb, adverb, or adjective and can tell ‘how’, ‘where’, ‘why’ or ‘when’. A group of words that acts like an adverb in a sentence is called an adverb phrase. It modifies a verb or another adverb.


  1. I’ll go to bed when finished reading.
  2. Before class, I got my books.
  3. I drove my car at a very high speed (modifies verb:- drove)
  4. The girl was sitting next to her mother .(modifies verb:- sitting)


Prepositional Phrase:


A prepositional phrase is made up of a preposition and a noun phrase The noun or pronoun is the object of the preposition, Most prepositional phrases act as adjectives or adverbs.


  1. Abel is the student with the highest grade. (as an adjective)
  2. We attended a concert at the park. (as an adverb)


Verb Phrase:


A verb phrase is the portion of a sentence that contains both the verb and either a direct or indirect object. A verb phrase can be the predicate of the clause or sentence. Verb phrase can also be a phrase that functions as an adverb or adjective and contains a verb and its complements, objects, or modifiers.


Phrase Is the Predicate of the Sentence


  1. She was walking quickly to the mall.
  2. He should wait before going swimming.

Phrase Functions as an Adverb or Adjective


  1. As the cat watched, the two puppies fought over a bone.
  2. The small dog was reluctant to learn nev things.


There are three types of verb phrases. They are 

  1. Infinitive,
  2. Gerund, and
  3. Participial phrases.


Infinitive Phrase:


Infinitive phrases contain verbs consisting of ‘to’ follow by a verb and any modifiers, objects, or complements. The Infinitive phrases usually act as nouns, but they can also act as adjectives and adverbs.


  1. To live in London eventually is his main goal in life. (the infinitive phrase works as the subject of the sentence)
  2. She went home to visit her family. (the infinitive phrase works as an adverb, modifying ‘went’)


Participial Phrase:


Participial phrases consist of a past or a present participle and any objects, and/or modifiers. A Participial phrases always function as adjectives within a sentence.

Removing his coat, Jack rushed to the river.


Here, the participial phrase functions as an adjective modifying ‘Jack’. ‘Removing’ is the present participle and ‘his coat’ is the direct object of action expressed in participle


Hidden by the trees, Jerry waited to scare Mark.


Here, ‘hidden’ is the past participle of the verb ‘hide‘ and ‘by the trees’ modifies the participle. Together, these two make the participial phrase ‘Hidden by the trees’. It modifies the subject of the sentence, ‘Jerry’.


Having forgotten my wallet, I borrowed some money from my friends.


Here, ‘having forgotten’ is the perfect participle, ‘my wallet’ is the object. Together, these two make the participial phrase ‘Having forgotten my wallet’, It modifies the subject of the sentence, T’.


Gerund Phrase:


Gerund phrases consist of a gerund and any objects and/or modifiers. A gerund phrase can look similar to a participial phrase because the gerund has the same form as the present participle. The main difference is that the gerund (phrase) functions as a noun (i.e. subject, object, subject complement, appositive), and the participial phrase as an adjective.


I enjoy riding my bike in the evening.


Here, ‘riding’ is a gerund, ‘my bike’ is the object of the gerund and ‘in the evening’ modifies the gerund. Together, these three make the gerund phrase ‘riding my bike in the evening’.


A. Underline the phrase in the following sentences and write it whether it is an adjective phrase or adverb phrase. 

1. The President arrived from Boston.
2. The sloop with beautiful red sails turned north.
3. A trip along the old trail is being planned.
4. The hikers were being bitten by large hungry mosquitoes.
5. The tour bus stopped near the Vatican City.
6. Because he was the best player in the county, he was chosen first.


B. Underline the infinitive phrase in each sentence and tell how it is used (as a noun, adjective, or adverb).

1. You have two choices, to stay or to go.
2. Sofia tried to warn them of the problem.
3. Shem had no choice except to resign from the position.
4. The child was afraid to tell the truth.
5. The teachers came to offer their service.
6. Charles had a scheme to make money.

C. The phrase has been coloured in each sentence. Identify it as prepositional, participial, gerund or infinitive.

1. Hoping for a miracle, the doctors continued the surgery.
2. Our boss supports donating time to charity.
3. Melanie hoped to find a cure for the disease, but she tried to be realistic.
4. After the banquet, the cooks will take a well-deserved break.
5. Christopher is hoping for a change to play pool with his uncle,
6. The dog that David chose from the litter seems to be healthy.
7. Pushed beyond endurance, the runner dropped the baton.
8. The shoes he saw in the catalogue are available down the street.


A clause is a group of two or more related words that has a subject and a verb. There are two kinds of clauses: independent and dependent. A clause is a group of related words that contains both a subject and a verb/predicate. A clause can be used on its own, as well.


• We will go to the park, when the rains stop. (has two clauses)
• Everyone was waiting for him, but he didn’t come. (has two clauses)


Look at the example:


I will meet him.


The part of the above sentence’I will meet him’ is a clause because it has a subject (I) and a predicate (will meet him).

Phrases and Clauses with Examples


The Independent Clause or Simple Sentence


An independent clause is a group of related words that has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. An independent clause is also called a simple sentence.


Every sentence you write must have both a subject and verb, and these two parts go together. That is, whatever you identify as the subject must be performing the action of the verb. These two parts are not isolated; they work together to express an idea.


Also remember that verbs or can express actions (walk, see, run, cat, go type, sit, etc.) or states of being (am, is, are, was, were, appear, seem, etc.).


This clause, also known as the main clause expresses the whole meaning. It can either stand on its own as a sentence or be combined with one or more dependent or independent clauses to form a sentence.


Look at the following sentences: Phrases and Clauses with Examples


  1. I read all day Sunday. (subject = I; verb = read)
  2. I am very happy. (subject = I; verb = am)
  3. My mom will pick us up when the class is over.
  4. He has been playing outside all day.


The highlighted words are independent clauses and they make sense on their own, without any additional information.

The Dependent Clause


A dependent clause has a subject and a verb, but it does not express a complete thought because is has a dependent word. A dependent clause is not a sentence. This clause, also known as the subordinate clause, cannot stand on its own as a sentence. It must be combined with one or more independent clauses to form a sentence.


Dependent clauses begin with words such as after, although, because, before, if, since, that, until, what, when, where, who, which, and why.


Look at this example: Phrases and Clauses with Examples


While John was driving.


This clause does have a subject (John) and a verb (was driving), but it does not express a complete thought. We still need more information to understand the whole idea. The writer did not tell us what happened while John was driving.


Look at these two versions of the same idea:


Look at these examples: Phrases and Clauses with Examples


  1. The dog barked all night.
  2. Because the dog barked all night.
  3. We have to finish our homework before we go out to play.
  4. My school is having a sports day event but I cannot participate.


The highlighted words are dependent clauses as despite having a verb and a noun they are incomplete; they do not make complete sense on their own.


The first sentence is complete, but the second sentence is not because it does not tell us the result of the dog’s barking, We still need more information to understand the whole idea. Both clauses, While John was driving and Because the dog barked all night, contain subjects and verbs, but do not express complete thoughts; therefore, both are dependent clauses.

AUTHOR’S TIP :- The word ‘that’ does not always introduce a dependent clause; it may be a pronoun (That is my book) or a describing word (I like that book).


D. Review the examples above and then write down whether the following are clauses or phrases.

1. although I could not play
2. Because he likes the house
3. from earlier centuries
4. before a hurricane occurs
5. during the rainy season
6. I ate some breakfast
7. throughout the room
8. Before I went to school


Kinds of Subordinate Clauses – Phrases and Clauses with Examples


On the basis of their function in a sentence, subordinate clauses can be divided into the following types:


Noun Clause:


A noun clause is a group of words that include a subject and a verb, and it functions as a noun. A noun clause does the function of a noun, Noun clauses begin with words such as how, that, what, whatever, when, where, whether, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, and why.


Look at the following sentences: Phrases and Clauses with Examples


  1. What Jennifer said made her friends cry. (as a subject)
  2. He didn’t realize that the stove was off. (as an object)
  3. The wonderful thing about English teachers is that they all get along so well. (as a subject complement)
  4. The book is about zchere the dinosaurs laid their eggs. (as an object of preposition)
  5. Sachin requested me that I should attend the party.
  6. Whoever comes first, shall get the medal from the school.
  7. What Tripti said made all her friends upset.


The above highlighted words are noun clauses, they are incomplete in themselves and cannot be used on their own. 
Noun phrases can be converted into noun clauses by adding verb and/or noun.

• The boy in the blue shorts was running fast.
   The boy, who was wearing the blue shorts, was running fast.
• The bells in the church were ringing loudly.
   The bells that were in the church, were ringing loudly.



Conditionals are sentences that have two clauses- an ‘if’ clause and a main clause – that are closely related.
Depending on the content of a sentence, conditionals can be of four types:


Zero Conditional

We use the zero conditionals to talk about things that are always true. Both the clauses are in simple present form always and the subordinate clause starts with ‘if


• If the full moon comes out, there will be light.
• If you press that button, the machine will turn on.
• I am sorry, if my words have hurt you.


The First Conditional

The first conditional is used when there is a real possibility of the if-event happening. It uses simple present form in the ‘if’ clause and refers to the future in the main clause, The structure of first conditionals is: if + simple present tense and will + infinitive.




  1.  I will see you this evening if the weather is fine.
  2. We may use ‘unless’ in place of ‘if not’.



You will pass the test if you work hard. – You won’t pass the test unless you work hard
We will go for a picnic if the Sun shines, – We won’t go for a picnic unless the Sun shines.


The Second Conditional

The second conditional is used to talk about ‘unreal’ or ‘impossible’ things. It uses simple past form in the ‘if’ clause and would and verb in the main clause.


• If I went to London, I would visit the Tower of London.
• If they made me the principal of the school, I would change many things.

The structure is usually if + simple past tense and would + infinitive.
The if-event in the second conditional is either unlikely or hypothetical.



• If he were here, he would never agree. (unlikely)
• If I won a lottery, I would buy a yacht. (unlikely)
• If they made me the principal , I would declare every Saturday a holiday. (hypothetical)
• If I got a chance, I would go and live in Siberia. (hypothetical)


Sometimes the if-event in the second conditional is unlikely or hypothetical to the point of being unreal.



• If I were a bird, I would fly.
• IfI were an alien, I would be able to travel across the universe.


The Third Conditional

The third conditional, unlike the first and the second, refers to the past. They describe something that didn’t happen.


• If I had worked hard, I would have passed the test. (but I didn’t work hard, so I didn’t pass the test.)
• If he had invited me, I would have gone. (but he didn’t invite me,, so I didn’t go.)


The structure is usually if + past perfect tense and would + perfect infinitive.



Adjective Clause:


An adjective clause is simply a group of words with a subject and a verb that provide a description. It may be introduced by the pronouns zuho, whose, whom, zwhich, or that (and sometimes when or where). These pronouns are called relative pronouns because they relate to a noun or a pronoun in the sentence. Occasionally, no relative pronoun is used, but it is implied or understood.

Look at these examples: Phrases and Clauses with Examples


  1. Young-Hee, who is a Korean student, lives in Victoria.
  2. The desk in the corner, which is covered in books, is mine.
  3. The package that arrived this morning is on the desk.

SMS English | Popular English Slang Word List | Chatting Language | Acronyms & Abbreviations


Adverb Clause: Phrases and Clauses with Examples


An adverb clause is a group of words that function as an adverb. The clause can modify verbs, adverbs and adjectives by telling when, where, why, how, how much and under what condition. They begin with a subordinating conjunction such as after, if, because and although and they contain a subject and a predicate.


  1. Although Jay has a Master’s degree, he works as a store clerk.
  2. If you save your money, you will be able to go to college.
  3. I didn’t call her because I’m shy.

Kinds of Adverb Clauses


The most common conjunctions used in adverb elauses are listed below, according to the type of clause they ntroduce:


Cause: as, becausc, since

I come here because I want to meet you.
Since the rain washed out the bridge, we’ll have to cross on foot.

Comparison: a s…as, than

John sings better than I do.

Condition: if, provided that, unless, whether
I’ll go to the barbecue if you can give me a lift home.

Concession: although, even though, whereas, while
Even though Eric arrived late, he still got a seat.

Manner: as, as if, as though
Kristen looked as if she would explode.

Place: where, wherever
Take this map with you wherever you go.

Purpose: in order that, so that
I tell him every day in order that he can remember.
Clint closed the gate so that the cow would not stray.

Time: after, as, before, once, sinee, till, until, when, while

E. Write the subordinate/dependent clause in the following sentences. Next to each one, write whether it is an adjective clause, adverb clause or a noun clause. If an adjective or adverb clause, tell what word in the independent clause is modified by that clause. If a noun clause, write how it is used in the sentence…that is, whether it is the subject, direct object, object of preposition, indirect object or predicate noun.

1. Ancient Egyptians designed houses that were meant to be cool.

2. The architect who is my brother designed my home.

3. Before a proper foundation is designed, a soil test is done.

4. People who like tiny dogs have a choice of about fifteen kinds.

5. Whoever likes Shetland Sheepdogs will be happy with their choice.


F. Underline the adverb phrases in the following sentences and also state their kinds.

1. Wherever there are computers, there is Microsoft software.
2. After the fruit is harvested, it is sold at the market.
3. I didn’t call her because l’m shy.
4. She took a computer course so that she could get a better job.
5. Although Gerry has a Master’s degree, he works as a store clerk.
6. If you save your money, you will be able to go to college.
7. After I have finished studying, I intend to work abroad.
8. Since I started going to fitness, I have lost 5 kilos.
9. If we clone humans, it may have terrible consequences.
10. My English is not improving because I am not studying enough.
11. He went to the gym so that he could lose weight.
12. Although e-readers are popular, most people still prefer books.
13. Whereas you have a lot of time to study, I do not.
14. Wherever he goes, I will go.
15. Iam studying IELTS in order to attend university abroad.



Phrases and Clauses with Examples -Worksheet- 1

Circle the adjective phrases in the following sentences:

1. The girl in the black dress belonged to a rich family.

2. Everyone in the classroom was absolutely silent.
3. All the flowers were made of plastic.
4.We went to Nirula’s on the Mall road.
5. Two cups of coffee is my limit.

6. I bought a coat with four pockets.
7. The president took a call from his secretary.

Phrases and Clauses with Examples -Worksheet 2

1. Match the words/phrases to their meanings. One has been done for you:


Column A
Column B
(a) so far(i) new way of doing things
(b) accurate(ii) not modern
(c) variation(iii) till now
(d) path-breaking work(iv) live
(e) traditional(v) exact
(f) exist(vi) deviation


2. Now put the words/phrases from column A in the blanks:


(a) It is __________________in our country to light lamps on Diwali.
(b) Our progress in the field of technology is,__________is very slow.

(c) Can you tell me the_________ time ?
(d) There are as many _____________________in human faces as in the leaves of a tree.
(e) Our forefathers had done a lot of____________in the field of science.
(f) No democratic system can _____________well in our country.

Phrases and Clauses with Examples -Worksheet- 3.


Identify the phrases in the following sentences and state their kind:

1. He was a man of great wealth.____________
2. The principal was an old man of friendly disposition.______________
3. The workers belonged to a tribe dwelling in the hills._______________
4. There I met a boy with red hair.-______________________
5. Only a man with plenty of money can buy a car of such beauty and power.___________________
6.He was a young man of great promise._________________
7. He wore a turban made of gold.________________________

8. He ran with great speed.___________________
9. You can buy it in all places.____________________
10. He replied in a very rude manner.________________________
11. How does he live without any worries?________________

Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet – 4

Underline the adverbial phrases in the given sentences:

1. We were late for the meeting.
2. She ran down the hall as far as she could.
3. The match starts in the morning.
4. He went into his room after school.
5. She packed the bag with great care.
6. His dad went to the study after return from his office.
7. We walked in the garden in the evening.
8. I took water one hour after lunch.

Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet – 5


Underline the noun phrases in the following sentences:
1. The new manager called a meeting.
2. He purchased the new vitamin packed, low fat cornflakes.
3. The boy wearing orange shorts watered the plants.
4. The smiling baby won the contest.
5. This was Mr Gupta’s most challenging class.
6. He gave an insightful and thought provoking remark.
7. It was an unforgettable trip with skillfully guided site seeing, varied food and some satistying snapshots.
8. John described his friend’s new car with sleek, low body and vivid exterior colour.

Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet- 6


Identify the independent and the dependent clauses in these sentences, by highlighting dependen clause in blue and the independent clause in pink. One has been done for you:

1. Whenever I am feeling sad, I talk to my friend Prachi”,
2. When she finished her work, she left quietly for home.

3. Raj is a smart and young boy who loves to play the piano.
4. The girl with brown eyes was sitting at the back and crying.
5. Shamma was leading the race until the very end.
6. The man who lives next door was singing a song last night.

Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet- 7


Replace each of the following adverb phrases by an adverb clause of the same meaning:

1. The workers have given a call for strike from this very moment.

2. We accepted the deal without hesitation.

3. The truck ran at a terrible speed.

4. I found a ring at this place.

5. He replied with perfect honesty.

6. She opened the door in a quick manner.


Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet- 8.


Replace each of the following phrases by a noun clause of the same meaning:

1. She wanted to leave after the meeting.

2. He decided to stay at home.

3. The officer ordered the clerk to leave the room at once.

4. Sonia offered to us to have a cup of tea.

5. The clerk requested the officer to grant him leave for two days.

6. I advised him to work hard.


7. He was allowed to carry on his business.


Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet- 9


Write down the answer to these questions, using if-clauses. The first one has been done for you.

1. What will you do if you are tired?
   If l am tired, I will go to bed.
2. What will you do if you are ill?

3. What will you do if you are late for school?

4. What will you do if your teacher is angry with you?

5. What will happen if you do not go out to play for a week?


Phrases and Clauses with Examples -Worksheet 10


Complete the following first conditionals by putting the verbs given in brackets in the right tenses:

1. If the Sun (shine), we (go) for a picnic. ______________________________
2. If it (rain), we (stay) indoors._____________________________________
3. I (go) if he (invite) me._________________________________________
4. I(buy) you a present if you (behave) yourself.__________________________

5. I (come) to the party if I (leave) the office on time._______________________

Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet- 11

Complete the given sentences in second conditional forms:

1. Ifl was a robot,_____________________________
2. IfI was a giraffe,______________________________
3. If I was the Prime Minister of India,________________________
4. If I was a Chess champion,_________________________
5. IfI was Saurav Ganguly,___________________________


Phrases and Clauses with Examples – Worksheet – 12

Identify which type of conditionals are the following. Write 0, 1t, 2nd or 3rd in the space given:

1. I will tell him if I meet him,.______________
2. If I don’t get my morning tea, I will feel tired the whole day.____________________
3. If I had gone to the beach, I would have collected a lot of shells.___________
4. If I have enough time during this week, I will go to see a match.________________
5. If I get a magic wand, I will remove all poverty._____________________
6. If I buy a helicopter, I will go to the Himalayas daily._______________
7. He would not have come unless we had invited all his friends._______________
8. I will travel if get my leaves approved.____________________

Phrases and Clauses with Examples -Worksheet – 13

Complete the given sentences in third conditional forms:

1. If you had invited him____________________________________
2. If she had studied well______________________________________
3. If they had rehearsed the play________________________________
4. If you had told me________________________________________
5. If the company had hired me__________________________________
6. If they had planned the trip____________________________________

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