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26 Nov
ENG45  0






Clause, phrase, and sentence

In English, you encounter these items; clause, phrase, and sentence. They are all composed of groups of words and they look similar too but it is a bit different in their roles. Let’s look at their differences.


What is a phrase?

When words are grouped together but don’t have any subjects or verbs then they are called a phrase. They can be short or quite long and due to the lack of subject and verb they cannot be used alone and should be used as a part of a sentence.


“before breakfast”

“going on a trip”


What is a clause?

Unlike a phrase, a clause has a subject and that is why they can be sometimes used apart from other sentences. This type of a clause is called an independent clause. But it is not always true and they have to be used in another sentence to make sense.

For example:

Dependent clause:” when Mary came in”

Independent clause: “the rain stopped”


What is a sentence?

A complete sentence has a subject and a verb and can often be composed of more than one clause. As long as it has a subject and a predicate, a group of words can form a sentence, no matter how short.

E.g. “You ate fish.”

More complex sentences can combine multiple clauses or phrases to add additional information about what is described. Clauses may be combined using conjunctions – such as “and”, “but” and “or”.

E.g. “He went out to dinner but didn’t enjoy the meal.”

This example is composed of two independent clauses, “he went out to dinner” and “he didn’t enjoy the meal”, combined with a conjunction- “but”.


Now you have an idea what the differences are and in order not to forget about them try reading more things about them and do some exercise relating to the topic.

Remember it is always practice that helps you to improve faster and better.

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