A group of words that makes a sense but not complete sense is called a phrase. It is usually a part of sentence not a complete sentence. For example:
To play chess is not easy.
Mrs. Mehra is a woman of great intelligence
Two sentences given above are sentences, for they make a complete sense. The expressions written in bold letters are all phrase.
A phrase does not contain a finite verb. But it may contain a non finite verb (an infinitive, a participle or a gerund). We know that in a sentence, a word can act as a noun, a pronoun, an adjective etc.
A phrase can act as an adjective, an adverb or a noun.
A phrase that acts as an adjective in a sentence is called an adjective phrases. For example:
We purchased a steel almirah.
We purchased an almirah made of steel.
In sentence 1, the word steel describes the noun almirah, so it is an adjective. In sentence 2, the word steel has been has been replaced by the phrase made of steel. But this phrase also describes the noun almirah. So it is an adjective phrase.
A phrase that acts as an adverb in a sentence is called an adverb phrase. For example:
She acted foolishly.
She acted in a foolish manner.
In sentence 1, the word foolishly is an adverb describing the verb acted. It describes how she acted. So it is an adverb manner. In the sentence 2, the word foolishly has been replaced by the foolish in manner, but it does exactly the same work; it describes how she acted. So in a foolish manner is an adverb phrase.
A phrase that acts as a noun in sentence is called a noun phrase. For example:
I love reading comics.
We like to listen to good music.
In sentence 1, the phrase reading comics answers the question: love what? So the phrase reading comics is the object of the verb love. Since only a noun can be the object of a verb, this phrases acts as a noun phrase.
Example for Adjective Phrases
Her drawing is faultless. (Adjective)
Her drawing is without a fault (Adjective phrase)
Everybody respects an honorable man. (Adjective)
Everybody respects a man of honor. (Adjective phrase)
Examples for Adverb Phrases
I was a student then. (Adverb, showing time)
I was a student in those days (Adverb phrase)
Examples for Noun Phrases
Painting landscapes is his hobby.
To understand people is very difficult.