A phrase is a group of words that does not have a subject and verb.  A clause, on the other hand, has a subject and verb.


  • under the fence
  • around the church
  • running to the store
  • preaching Christ


  • After we won the race
  • Before Carl started preaching
  • I love fish.

In English, there are four basic kinds of phrases;

  1. gerund (always substantival),
  2. participle (always adjectival),
  3. infinitive (can be substantival, adjectival, or adverbial), and
  4. prepositional phrase (can be adjectival, or adverbial).

The first three are also called verbals.

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