What are Phrases in English Grammar? Definition, Meaning, Types, Examples, List

What are Phrases in English Grammar? Any clue! Don’t worry, we will discuss the basic details of phrases, along with the definition, meaning, a lot of examples, list, etc.

In this post, we will see the different types of phrases also, along with their examples.

What are Phrases in English Grammar? Definition & Examples

Let’s learn phrases with definitions, meaning, and examples.

Definition of Phrase

In the English language, a phrase is a group of words, which we can use contextually. When used in the right context, this group of words can help us express ourselves better. But you need to bear in mind that sometimes they don’t have any subject or object; thus, phrases may not make a complete meaning on their own.

But when used in the proper context alongside a clause, they enhance the sentence to a new level altogether.

We can define Phrase as,

A phrase is a unique group of works that can function as,

  • noun,
  • adjective,
  • verb,
  • preposition, etc.

Examples & Meaning of Phrase

Let’s try to understand the meaning of the phrase with simple examples,

what phrases English grammar definition meaning examples list
What phrases English grammar definition meaning examples list
  • Rima bought a nice T-shirt
  • Nira is singing a very nice song.

Now, from these above sentences, we see that one particular potion of sentence symbolizes a noun.

Here, the group of words is,

  • a nice T-shirt
  • A very nice song

Hence, this group of words is nothing but phrases.

Types of Phrases 

Based on their properties, the English phrases can be divided into no less than eight types.

  • Noun Phrase
  • Prepositional Phrase
  • Adjective Phrase
  • Adverb Phrase
  • Verb Phrase
  • Infinitive Phrase
  • Participle Phrase
  • Absolute Phrase

Each of them has its own set of properties that make them stand apart and worth learning. Below, we are going to look at each of them in detail, along with their suitable examples.

Description of Phrase Types with Examples

Let’s learn the aforementioned eight types of phrases with examples in the English language.

Noun Phrase

Just like the name suggests, a phrase that functions as a noun in a sentence is called a noun phrase. It generally consists of a noun or other modifiers that help to quality or modify the noun.

The other modifiers can sit before or after the noun based on the expression, and in the whole sentence, they will function as the noun.

You can find sentences where more than one noun phrase can be seen, but we will get to that later.

Some examples of a noun phrase can be:

  • They bought a big black van.
  • She was wearing a beautiful turquoise dress.
  • One of my closest friends went to New York last week.
  • One of my cousins invited me to their house to show me the new gaming device he bought. (Double Noun Phrase)

Prepositional Phrase

Yes, just like the name, the phrases that function as a preposition in a sentence are called prepositional phrases.

Let’s see some examples of prepositional phrases, and it will be absolutely clear to you.

  • The boys were asked to sit in the corner of the room.
  • She was looking at the photograph on the wall.
  • The car passed the house at a very quick speed.

Adjective Phrase

Some phrases can function as adjectives in a sentence. They are called adjective phrases. These phrases generally consist of adjectives and other related modifiers that can modify a noun or other relative pronouns.

Some examples of adjective phrase can be

  • The kid with the red t-shirt was punished by the teacher.
  • She gifted me a beautiful brown leather bag.
  • She gave me a cup which was broken from one side.
  • A friend from my university was awarded the National Award For Best Film Score.

Adverb Phrase

An adverbial phrase will always function as an adverb in a sentence. And it will consist of an adverb or other modifiers that can quality a verb, an adjective, and another adverb.

Some examples of adverbial phrase can be:

  • The tiger was running very fast.
  • He was swimming very slowly.
  • Upon my arrival at the mansion, she welcomed me very kindly.
  • She was there with me at the movie theater only for a few minutes.

Verb Phrase

The verb phrase functions just like the verb in a sentence. When used with the right context, these phrases will qualify the action carried out by the noun and give us more details about the action.

Almost all the verb phrases will have a verb and some other related modifiers.

Some examples of verb phrases can be:

  • He was waiting for his grandfather to show up at the airport.
  • She was upset when her baked cake failed to taste good.
  • I have been awake since last night working on the project that is due this Monday.
  • You might just feel better with a little coffee.
  • He was eagerly waiting for the rain to stop as his mother was sick at home.

Infinitive Phrase

Just like the name, the infinitive phrase can introduce an infinite into the sentence. An infinitive is a non-finite verb that consists of “To” + the base form of any verb.

In a sentence, the infinitive phrase can function like a noun, adjective, or adverb.

Some examples of the infinite phrases are:

  • I wanted to ride the roller-coaster, but my height was not enough.
  • To make some chicken curry, he first marinated the chicken.
  • They came up with an agenda to free the oppressed laborers.
  • The company wanted to sack a lot of employees during these trying times.
  • The police managed to catch the thief with the help of a little boy.
  • Father always forbade me to waste time on petty matters.
  • He went to France to study ancient French Literature.

Participle Phrase

A participle phrase is made of a group of present participle and past participle modifiers. These phrases function as the adjective in the sentence.

Some examples of participle phrase can be;

  • After getting mixed with the colored ones, my white shirts were ruined.
  • Considering the current situation, you should be all the more careful.
  • After discovering the real story, I am really disappointed in you.
  • Smiling from the happiness, she was feeling, she went up to the stage.
  • Painting the room red, he was redesigning his old room.
  • Frozen due to extremely cold weather, the lake was looking very different.
  • The dog was running behind the thief while barking at him constantly.

Absolute Phrase

Lastly, we have the absolute phrase. The essential characteristic of this phrase is that it lacks an action verb but has a subject. Since it cannot make complete sense independently, it modifies the entire sentence instead of just the noun.

Some examples of absolute phrase can be:

  • With the school bag in hand, she walked out of the door.
  • The whole class apologized with their eyes moist.
  • Our team, tired and exhausted, still managed to win the match.

So these are the different phrases in the English language along with their suitable example.

Importance of Learning Phrases

We have learned the basics of phrases, like definition, meaning, examples, types, but what do you think, why do we learn phrases in English?

Let’s try to understand the importance of learning phrases.

It helps to learn English easily

  • If anyone starts with big sentences, then it will be difficult for them to understand as well as keep their interest.
  • The phrase means only a small group of words and very easy to remember.
  • Using phrases may be fun and interesting.
  • Very easy to remember.

Help to communicate properly 

  • When we communicate, we can use phrases to communicate better.
  • It helps to strengthen our communication.
  • Make communication easy even better.

Phrase List

Let’s check few additional examples in a list of phrase,

  • a small red toy, (Noun phrase)
  • a beautiful red Saree, (Noun phrase)
  • at the corner of the hall, (Prepositional phrase)
  • on the blackboard, (Prepositional phrase)
  • with the white side bag, (Adjective phrase)
  • blue leather packet, (Adjective phrase)
  • very quick, (Adverb Phrase)
  • very frequently, (Adverb Phrase)
  • was studying to clear the examination, (Verb phrase)
  • was excited to see her result, (Verb phrase)
  • to work, (Infinitive phrase)
  • to make, (Infinitive phrase)
  • After getting mixed with the hot ones, (Participle phrase)
  • Considering the future, (Participle phrase)
  • With the cap on head, (Absolute phrase)
  • with their head down, (Absolute phrase)


Finally, we have got a grip on what does the phrase means along with its basic definition, examples, list. I hope, the concept is clear. In case of any doubt, please write in the below comment box.

Happy reading! Cheers!

Refer to our most interesting articles

Nouns that starts with A

Noun that starts with B

Noun that starts with C

What is noun

Types of noun

Collective nouns

Concrete nouns

Irregular plurals

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