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Difference Between Clause and Phrase

Clause vs Phrase

At times, the structure of the English language can be difficult to understand. The language is made up of many different and complicated words. These words are grouped together and placed in different categories, the main ones being Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives. We then use the structure of these groups to construct our written or verbal sentences. Without supplying a coherent structure for word placement, many of our written sentences would not make sense.

An interesting set of sentence structures can be found when we investigate the difference between a clause and a phrase.

A phrase is simple to understand. It is a fragment of a sentence containing a Verb or a Noun.
It is important to remember that a phrase will only contain either a verb or a noun and not both. A simple sentence structure to demonstrate is as follows, Pick Up. Pick is the Verb and up is the preposition word.

A clause is just as simple to understand. The basic definition of a clause is that it is a sentence fragment with a verb and a noun.  A clause will make our sentence structure fuller and our language easier to understand. .A clause always comes in two parts; an independent clause and a dependent clause.  An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence; a dependent clause cannot and needs the independent clause to make sense. An example sentence is, ‘When I got home, I ate dinner.’  The comma in the sentence denotes a change in clause. I ate dinner is seen as the independent clause. It is a sentence that contains a verb and a subject matter, and can stand alone as a sentence while still making sense. When I got home is the dependent clause of the sentence. Although the sentence still contains a verb and a subject matter, denoting it as a clause; if you removed it away from the independent clause it would not be complete. In summary, dependant clauses need to come with an independent clause to make sense.

Summary

  1. A Phrase is a sentence fragment that contains either a Verb or a Noun, but not both.
  2. A clause is a sentence fragment containing both a Verb and a Noun.
  3. A clause sentence is much more flexible in its use than simply using a phrase.
  4. The most common types of clause used are called independent and dependent clauses.
  5. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence.
  6. A dependent clause needs to attach itself to an independent clause to make sense.

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