Clauses and Phrases

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Clauses and phrases are the building blocks of sentences. Every sentence must have at least one clause to be considered grammatically correct. Understanding how clauses and phrases work will help you better understand sentence structure. You’ll need to have a working knowledge of subjects, predicates, and objects before you continue.


A clause is a subject and a predicate working together.

I took the dog to the park.
The example has one subject, I, and one predicate, took. Since they are working together to form a comprehensible sentence, this sentence has one clause.

I love learning, so I spend a lot of time reading.
This example has two predicates: love and spend. Since they are each working together with separate subjects, this sentence has two clauses.


A phrase is a group of words related to the subject, predicate, or object. Phrases do not contain a subject and a predicate, or we would call them clauses. Phrases provide additional information about subjects, predicates, and / or objects, and understanding how they work is helpful to building an analyzing sentences.


After working late into the night, Jack fell asleep on his desk.
The emboldened portion of the sentence exemplifies the phrase. It provides additional information about our subject, Jack, but the sentence does not require this information to be grammatically complete.

I left my keys inside of the Whole Foods, my favorite grocery store.
In this example sentence, the predicate is left and the subject is I. On the other side of the sentence we have a phrase that provides additional information about the object of the sentence Whole Foods. Note that a phrase can come at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.

Click here to learn about independent and dependent clauses.

Clauses and Phrases Worksheets and Activities

Clauses Worksheet – Here’s a fun, mall-themed worksheet to help your students better recognizes clauses and sentence structure. Students identify the subjects, predicates, and objects in 15 sentences and determine how many clauses are in each sentence.  Then students write original sentences with a variety of clauses.
Clauses Worksheet 01 | RTF
Clauses Worksheet 01 | PDF
Clauses Worksheet 01 | Preview
Clauses Worksheet 01 | Ereading Worksheet – Online Test
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Joining Clauses and the Circus – Students read the circus themed sentences and join the clauses using coordinating and subordinating conjunctions without creating run-on sentences.
Joining Clauses and the Circus RTF
Joining Clauses and the Circus PDF
Preview Joining Clauses and the Circus in Your Web Browser
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Ninjas! – Independent and Dependent Clauses – Read the paragraph about ninjas. Circle dependent clauses and underline independent clauses.
Ninjas and Clauses RTF
Ninjas and Clauses PDF
Preview Ninjas and Clauses in Your Web Browser
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Clauses and Phrases Worksheets – Features the exciting theme of leprechauns. Circle the predicates, underline the subject, double underline the phrases.
Clauses and Phrases Worksheet RTF
Clauses and Phrases Worksheet PDF
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Clauses Lesson – Slide show lesson teaching students independent and dependent clauses and phrases. It includes a practice assessment after the lesson.
Clauses Lesson PPT

Clauses and Phrases PowerPoint Lesson – This slideshow is a revision of the above lesson, but it has been both simplified and expanded.
Clauses and Phrases PowerPoint Lesson

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  1. Priya

     /  September 29, 2020

    Can u explain dependent and independent phrase and clause

    • Independent clauses have a subject and a predicate and express a complete thought. Dependent clauses have a subject and a predicate but do not express a complete thought because of a conjunction like “because.”

  2. Pulkit

     /  July 19, 2019

    Please sir can you explain the types of clauses

  3. Pulkit

     /  July 19, 2019

    Sir can you teach me some tricks to identify phrases and clauses tomorrow is my exam

  4. Ariv

     /  July 18, 2019

    I still dont understand it

  5. Amudha Godfrey Fernando

     /  March 4, 2019

    Can u give the answer
    As soon as possible

  6. Nishi

     /  February 28, 2019

    Plz provide some worksheet and test papers to
    Solve and gain more marks

  7. Mustansir

     /  February 21, 2019

    I want to give test of adverb clauses and phrases

  8. Ritika

     /  October 13, 2018

    What is a phrase?

    • A phrase is a group of words containing a subject OR predicate (or object) but not a subject AND a predicate. A subject AND a predicate makes a clause.

      There are lots of different types of phrases. For example, the prepositional phrase, which provides information about the location of the subject or object in time and/or space.

      I left my folder under the desk.

      This is a prepositional phrase providing more information about the location of an object (the folder) in relation to another object (the desk).

      Phrases often provide additional information and are not essential to the sentence construction, unlike the clause, which is the essential part of the sentence, I left in the above example.

  9. Chirag Shah

     /  October 3, 2018

    Very nice work Mr Morton

  10. Keira

     /  July 3, 2018

    Thanks a lot. This helped me. Tomorrow is my exam and this is just the right thing i need.. Thanks a lot! Have a nice day, Mr. Morton. 😀

  11. surjith

     /  September 17, 2017

    This is very useful for teaches us is very good job.I am 7th grade.

  12. blue

     /  September 5, 2017

    i liked the worksheets.
    it was good.

  13. Alegbe Joyce

     /  May 21, 2017

    Great !

  14. meghana

     /  May 20, 2017

    sir what is the difference between a subordinate
    and coordinating clause?

  15. jane

     /  May 15, 2017

    Can you have a dependent clause without subject or verb even though it does not have a complete thought?

    • No, by definition a clause must have a subject and a predicate. Conjunctions are what make them dependent.

  16. mubasher ktk

     /  March 18, 2017

    I am confused in sentence , phrase and clause. Give me 10 of 5 examples of each in a same sentence

    • Clauses.

      1. This is a clause.
      2. Clauses have subjects and predicates.
      3. Clauses can stand by themselves and express a complete thought.
      4. Some sentences have multiple clauses.
      5. Sentences with just one clause are called “simple sentences.”

      1. The frequently used phrases
      2. cannot stand alone
      3. The red, red horse

      Well, I hope you get the idea.

      • farah

         /  July 13, 2018

        Thanks a lot sir. This is really helpful for the second language learners.

  17. taylor

     /  March 13, 2017

    this is kind of tough sir. any extra helps??

  18. jamal

     /  March 6, 2017

    Tell me whether it is phrase or clause in following sentence
    Because of the cost which I bought from the pot pouri

    • Mal

       /  March 10, 2019

      because of the cost which i bought from the poy pouri
      Hey Jamal,
      Jamal first ,the punctuation of your sentence is wrong.It should be like – Because of the cost, which i bought from pot pouri.
      so, this sentence is a subordinate clause.

  19. logan waldschmidt

     /  March 2, 2017

    could you please make a dependent and independent clause about how to become a ninjas please today

  20. Jacquilin

     /  January 31, 2017

    Dear sir,
    I am confused between Past Perfect and Present Perfect tense.

  21. Lavish Beniwal

     /  December 13, 2016

    What is the difference between phrase and dependent clause?

  22. Krithik

     /  September 8, 2016

    Help me in clauses

  23. dharmendra shakya

     /  February 8, 2016

    sir! am confused…. whether what’s the difference between “”Tense & Sentence”””I didn’t to this day such teacher…. who could able off my confusion…. I want a group created in that we all of student could well study sir…. my fb id “”Dharmendra shakya ….u can find my 8445950373

    • Hello.

      Sentences are grammatical units containing at least one subject and a predicate.

      Predicates are verbs.
      Tense is related to verbs.

      It is well known that verbs express actions,
      but it is lesser known that verbs have the extra role of showing time.

      We conjugate verbs to show time. This is called verb tense.

      Since every sentence must have a verb, and every verb has a tense, every sentence has a tense.

      Let’s Look at an Example:

      Mr. Morton walked to the store.

      This sentence has one predicate, which is the verb walked.

      Walked is the past tense verb form of walk.
      The past tense form of a verb shows that the action occurred in the past. It is usually formed by adding “-ed” to the end of the verb.

      If you want to know more about verbs and verb tense, or subjects and predicates, you should check out my free parts of speech web app. I think Units 2 and 6 would be of interest to you.

      Best wishes!

  24. nada kh.

     /  November 30, 2015

    thank you so much , I have exam and my teacher did not talk about it too much…..again thank you !

  25. Sola

     /  November 10, 2015

    Thank you

  26. Shuvankar Biswas

     /  July 2, 2015

    Thanks a lot just for u for this God bless you!

    • Lillian

       /  January 5, 2017

      my exams are coming up and its my first time doing them and this helped me alot

  27. a_emad

     /  January 16, 2015

    Wow! Our teacher doesn’t explain grammar well and this really helped me a lot. Thank you! You are the kindest and sweetest person ever!

  28. Kanika

     /  September 19, 2014

    Thank u for sorting out my problem . Have a nice day

  29. Kanika

     /  September 19, 2014

    U helped me a lot tomorrow is my exam and I need it . Thank u and be happy

  30. Maria Argote

     /  September 11, 2014

    Love your website.
    I find it extremely helpful.
    Thank you so much!

  31. shrevarna shaji

     /  March 3, 2014


  32. shae

     /  February 19, 2014

    thank you so much this helped a ton i was given this site and we have to write a paper on it and on a ton of your other sites. we also have to do some worksheets but this is hopefully stick in my brain. thanks!! this is an amazing site (:

  33. T-MAC

     /  January 14, 2014

    good job

  34. Adrian Castillo

     /  August 26, 2013

    Nice work!!

  35. Hi…………. thank you very much……….. you helped me alot. Tomorrow is my exams and I really needed to know more about these things………….. once again thank you may GOD bless you……………. I am in 8th grade……………. thirteen years old.

  36. Miggy

     /  January 16, 2012

    You’re worksheets are very useful.!! Good job !


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