All terms

What is a Phrase?

A group of related words that functions as a meaningful unit within a sentence.

Phrasin' Along: A Guide to Writing and Understanding Phrases

Phrases are groups of words that work as a single unit within a sentence. They can be made up of a few words or many, but they work together to add information to a sentence. Phrases can act like nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs, depending on their position and function.

There are two main types of phrases: verb phrases and noun phrases. Verb phrases include the main verb and any helping verbs that come before or after it, as well as any other words that modify or describe the verb. Noun phrases include a noun and any other words that modify or describe it, such as articles, adjectives, and other nouns.

Phrases are important elements in writing because they help writers convey complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. They can be used to add descriptive detail, clarify meaning, and create a more fluid and interesting writing style. Understanding how phrases work is crucial for any writer who wants to create effective and engaging prose.

Phrasing it Just Right: Examples of Phrases in Literature
Take a closer look at two famous phrases in literature and their stylistic impact.
The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield's use of phrases in The Catcher in the Rye emphasizes his teenage angst and dissatisfaction, as seen in the phrase 'That killed me,' which is used to describe things that he finds emotionally difficult or unbearable.

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald's use of noun phrases in The Great Gatsby creates vivid descriptions of characters and settings, such as the phrase 'a valley of ashes,' which is used to describe an industrial wasteland between New York City and Long Island.