what is clause and phrases?

A phrase is a small group of words that adds meaning to a word. A phrase is not a sentence because it is not a complete idea with a subject and a predicate and thus, doesn't make sense completely.

For instance in the following lines, the words in italics form phrases:

  • Tell me what to do.

  • The elephant leaned against the wall.

  • The clouds float in the sky.

  • It is a mistake that you have made.

  • He has a game of robots.


Clauses are units of grammar that contain at least one predicate (verb) and a subject. A clause, therefore, contains a single verb group. A clause is different than a phrase. A clause is a group of words with a verb and a subject.

Instances of the same can be seen in italics in the following sentences:

  • He has a chain which is made of gold.

  • The train had left by the time they reached.

  • I belong to a family which has fifteen members.

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A phrase is a collection of words that may have nouns or verbals, but it does not have a subject doing a verb

 A clause is a collection of words that has a subject that is actively doing a verb

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