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Today, I will be talking about the phrase.
A phrase is a group of related words without a finite verb, and forms part of a sentence. Each of the groups of words in different colours in the following sentences is a phrase.
The young boy is singing very well in the choir.
All the children ate the food very quickly.
How are we sure they are phrases? Let us ask the following questions for each phrase in the first sentence, for instance.
Who is singing?
Answer: The young boy
What is the young boy doing?
Answer: is singing
How is he singing?
Answer: very well
Where is he singing?
Answer: in the choir
Now, do the same for the second sentence. What did you find out?
Before I proceed, let me quickly tell you what a finite verb is. A finite verb is a verb that shows tense, person, number and concord. Or better still, it is a verb that can change its form. GO, for instance is a finite verb because it can change its form to goes, going, gone and went. Do the same for verbs like see, eat, dance, write, cut, break and walk. However, to go is a non-finite verb because it cannot change its form: it cannot become to went, to goes, to going, etc.
Characteristics of Phrase
If you did the first exercise, and observed the phrases carefully, you will discover the following:
1. A phrase is usually made up of at least a word, e.g. goat, my book, in the room, very quickly, etc.
2. It does not have a finite verb.
3. It does not make a complete sense.
4. It forms part of a sentence.
- 5. Every phrase has a head or head word. The head word is a word that gives a phrase its identity or name, e.g. the young boy, in the room, very quickly, etc.
For instance, in the phrase the young boy, the headword is ‘boy’. Boy is a noun; the phrase is therefore a noun phrase. In the phrase in the room, the headword is the preposition ‘in’. It is therefore a preposition phrase. The headword in the last phrase is ‘quickly’ which is an adverb. The phrase is therefore an adverb phrase.
It is from this process that we get the types of phrase that we have.
This is where I will draw the curtain today. If you have any question on this topic or on any topic related to English Language, drop your question and I will respond to it. Till I come your way again, keep learning.
Written by Mr. Adeyemo