Phrases and Clauses


We have said that a sentence makes complete sense by itself. Let us now deal with two smaller parts of a sentence: Phrases and Clauses. They also make sense but they do not make complete sense.
Look at this sentence:

He received a very big parcel.

The unit a very big parcel in the sentence makes sense but does not make complete sense. It does not have a predicate. Such a unit is called a Phrase. Similarly, the portions italicized in the following sentences are also phrases:

George lives on the top floor.
There is a man outside the window.
All the boys in the class stood up.
Tell me how to solve this problem.
Helen was a woman of great beauty.

Now look at this sentence:

He received a parcel which was very big.

The unit which was very big in this sentence also makes sense. It has a subject, which, and a predicate, was very big. But it is not a complete sentence because it does not give a complete meaning independently. We do not know what the word which stands for. Such a unit is called a clause.

He does not work hard but he is quite intelligent.
Tell me where George has gone.
I asked the teacher what I should do after school.
He who gets up early has more time for his work.
Alice came as soon as she was called.

The portions in italics are all clauses.


Which of the italicized portions in the following sentences are phrases and which clauses?

1.      The cat is sitting on the roof.
2.      She lives in the next street.
3.      The boy did not know that his father had come.
4.      Jack and Jill went up the hill.
5.      I understand that George has become an actor.
6.      The train left two hours late.
7.      The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
8.      They who live by the sword shall perish by the sword.
9.      The people of the city came out to welcome their leader.
10. Do you know how to swim?

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