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Types of Phrases. A phrase is:. A group of related words that is used as a single part of speech. A phrase is a group of words that does not have both a subject and a predicate, so it is never a complete sentence. . Three types of phrases. Prepositional phrases Appositive phrases

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a phrase is
A phrase is:
  • A group of related words that is used as a single part of speech.
  • A phrase is a group of words that does not have both a subject and a predicate, so it is never a complete sentence.
three types of phrases
Three types of phrases
  • Prepositional phrases
  • Appositive phrases
  • Verbals and verb phrases
prepositional phrases
Prepositional Phrases
  • Contain a preposition (those small words of location—in, on, under, over, beside, etc.)
  • Have a preposition and a noun, and sometimes a word in between.

On the road Beside the ducks

Over the river from Grandma

To the gym in my backpack

how to remember prepositional phrases
How to remember prepositional phrases:

Think about anywhere a cat can go.

Over the chair Under my car tire

Around the circle Of my friend

(Oops! Not foolproof)

Through the yard

second kind of phrase
Second kind of phrase:


This type of phrase gives information which helps us be POSITIVE that we know what is being discussed.

appositive phrases
Appositive Phrases

In each of the examples, the underlined part is the appositive.

  • “Larry, the plumber, fixed the sink.
  • An excellent dancer, Rebecca took years of lessons.
  • Miss Piggy, Kermit’s girlfriend, won first prize, a pot-bellied pig.
next phrase type verbals
  • When a word that looks like a verb really functions as a different part of speech in a sentence, it is called a VERBAL.


A verb that isn’t really a verb is a verbal??

This is stupid. I don’t get it.

There are three types of verbal phrases:




Grammar is stupid.

Grammar is stupid.

Grammar is stupid.

One type of Verbal phrase: InfinitiveClue: look for the word “to” next to what looks like a verb.Example: “Sam likes to eat.”

“Sam likes to eat.”

  • It seems like “eat” is just a verb, but when it’s with the word “to”, the two words together are telling us WHAT Sam likes to do.
  • That makes the phrase “to eat” a noun.
another type of verbal participle
Another type of verbal: participle
  • A participle is a word ending in -ing or in -ed that helps describe something.
  • Participles function as adjectives because they describe or explain.

Three examples of participles.

We watched an exhausting Powerpoint.

The receiver made a diving catch.

The man admired the painted barn.

wait shouldn t diving be a verb it sounds like action
Wait! Shouldn’t “diving” be a verb? It sounds like action!

It depends on the sentence. Here, “diving” describes the catch, so it’s an adjective.

It might be a bobbled catch or a leaping catch, but it is a diving one.

participial phrases
Participles can also be in phrases. Look for “ing” or “ed”.

The people standing in line grew irritated.

Which people? The ones standing in line.

Determined to make the team, Jo shot baskets every night.

For what reason did Jo shoot? Because she’s determined to make the team.

Participial phrases
third type of phrase gerund
Third type of phrase: Gerund
  • A gerund ends in –ing
  • A gerund always functions as a noun.
gerunds end in ing
Gerunds: end in -ing

You can learn a lot from studying.

You can learn a lot from what? Studying.

You could hear laughing all the way down the hall.

What could you hear? Laughing.

If you can ask a “what” question, and the word answers it, then it is a noun—a gerund.

gerunds in phrases
Gerunds in phrases

A gerund can also be in a phrase:

Laura enjoyed vacationing in Michigan.

Laura enjoyed what? Vacationing in Michigan.

  • A phrase is a group of words that functions as a single part of speech.
  • A phrase doesn’t have both a subject and a verb, so it is never a complete sentence.
the three types of phrases are
The three types of phrases are:
  • Prepositional
  • Appositive
  • Verbals and verb phrases
    • Participial (Adjective)
    • Gerund (noun)
    • Infinitive (has the word “to” + verb)
  • While it is not necessary, for the most part, to know the difference between all the types of phrases, it is important to know what phrases are because many punctuation rules are based on being able to identify phrases and clauses.