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.
A sentence can have more than one clause, but it needs AT LEAST ONE CLAUSE or it is a fragment, not a sentence.
Itook the dog to the park. Ilove learning, so Ispend a lot of time reading.
In the first example sentence, the action is took. Ask yourself, "Who took?" Since I takes the verb, I is the subject. Together, the subject and the predicate form a clause. So the first example sentence has one clause.
The predicate in the second sentence is love. So we ask ourselves, "who loves?" The answer to this question is I, so I takes the predicate love. Together, they form a clause. But there is another predicate in this sentence. Spend is also a predicate. Once again, the subject I takes this predicate. So this example sentence has one subject and predicate working together in the first clause, and a second subject and predicate working together in the next clause. The second example 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. Understanding how phrases work is helpful when analyzing sentence structure.
After working late into the night, Jack fell asleep on his desk. I left my keys inside of the Whole Foods, my favorite grocery store.
In these example sentences, the phrases are red. The first example sentence has a predicate, fell, and a subject, Jack. The phrase provides additional information about the subject, but it is not required to form a complete sentence. The phrase does not contain a subject and a predicate. It cannot grammatically stand by itself.
In the second example sentence, the predicate is left and the subject is I. On the other side of the sentence, a phrase provides additional information about an object in the sentence, Whole Foods. Phrases can come at the beginning, middle, or end of sentences. Try reading the sentence without the phrase and notice that the sentence does not actually NEED the phrase. It is grammatically nonessential. Then try reading the phrase without the rest of the sentence. Notice that it hangs? The phrase depends on the sentence to complete its meaning.
L.1 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
L.K.1f - Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities. L.1.1j - Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts. L.2.1f - Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy). L.3.1i - Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences. L.4.1e - Form and use prepositional phrases. L.4.1f - Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons. L.7.1a - Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences. L.9-10.1b - Use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations.