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Phrases - Different types and Its Usage

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Types Of Phrases

A phrase is a group of related words that does not contain a subject and a verb.

Phrases can be used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. They are often classified as

Prepositional Phrases
Appositive Phrases

Prepositional Phrases

In simplest terms, prepositional phrases consist of a preposition and an object of a preposition.

Prepositional phrases can function as adjectives, adverbs, or nouns.

Prepositional phrases generally contain.

Preposition + noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause
Preposition + modifier(s) + noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause

Adjectival phrases are prepositional phrases that describe a noun or a pronoun. They function as adjectives to add colour and description to writing.


The price of the dinner was exorbitant.
My house is the one between the twisted oak tree and the graceful weeping willow.

Adverbial phrases are prepositional phrases that describe a verb, adjective, or adverb. They function as adverbs within a sentence.


The joggers ran with determination.
My plane is scheduled to depart at 6 P.M.

Appositive Phrases

An appositive phrase identifies or explains nouns and pronouns.

An appositive phrase is a type of noun phrase that follows the noun or pronoun, it modifies and amplifies or restricts its meaning.


The guest of honour was Dr. Brown, a noted humanitarian.
Michael, a former track star, keeps in shape by running fifty miles a week.
Sally's sister Andrea is an excellent student.


A verbal is a verb form used as another part of speech. The verbal and all the words related to it are called a verbal phrase.

Although a verbal doesn't function as a verb in a sentence, it does retain two qualities of a verb. A verbal can be described by adverbs and adverbial phrases. A verbal can add modifiers to become a verbal phrase.

Participial phrases function as adjectives. They can be placed before or after the word they describe.

Shaking with fear, the defendant stood before the jury.
She got a hamburger drenched in mustard.

Gerund phrases function as nouns. Gerunds always end in -ing.

Swimming vigorously three times a week helps a person stay in shape.
Getting bumped from an airplane can be an expensive experience.

Infinitive phrases can function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. An infinitive phrase always begins with the word to.

To succeed takes courage, foresight, and luck.
The pilgrim's hope was to reach the shrine before sundown.

Sample Usage

Verbal Phrase:
1)To ski every winter in Colorado will get very expensive.
2)Annoyed, Rita ate dinner by herself in the bathroom.
3)The sputtering car jerked down the road.

Prepositional Phrases
1)The book on the bathroom floor is swollen from shower steam.
2)The sweet potatoes in the vegetable bin are green with mould.
3)Before class, Josh begged his friends for a pencil.

Appositive Phrases
1)Have you ever read Five Point Someone, a book by Chethan Bhagath?
2)We enjoy walking, an exercise which requires no great skill.
3)I can't find my notebook, the one I use for history class.

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