Clause / Phrase / Sentence

Though many misuse these terms interchangeably, they are quite different from each other.

Also See:

Adverbial Clauses / Phrases


A small group of words forming a meaningful unit within a clause is called a phrase. They don’t contain a subject or a verb. Phrases can be classified into five groups:

1-A Noun Phrase

A noun phrase is a group of words in a sentence that acts like a noun.
For example: Have you seen the man in black.

2-A Verb Phrase

A verb phrase is a combination of a verb and a particle.
For example: I have been living in Los Angeles since I was born.

3-An Adjective Phrase

An adjective phrase is a prepositional phrase which is used as an adjective.
For example: My neighbor has a very interesting job.

4-An Adverbial Phrase

An adverbial phrase is a phrase with two or more words that act adverbially.
For example: You have to hand in your assignment as fast as possible.

5-A Prepositional Phrase

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and is followed by a noun or a pronoun.
For example: I parked my car under the bridge.


A clause is made up of a subject and a verb. Depending on the type, clauses can sometimes act as a sentence. Clauses can be classified into two main groups:

1-Main Clause (Independent Clause)

It can stand alone as a sentence.
For example: I like pizza.

2- Subordinate Clause (dependent Clause)

It cannot express a complete thought. In other words, it can’t stand alone.
For example: When I saw him. (incomplete)


A complete sentence contain a subject and a verb, and it can be made up of more than one clause.
For example: I ate some meat.

We can make up more complex sentences by adding multiple clauses or phrases to give extra information about what's being described.
For example: I went out to eat some fish but I couldn’t find a good restaurant.