PHRASE Phrase: is a group of words functioning as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence.

English is a language with five classes of phrases, noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective phrases, adverb phrases, and prepositional phrases. 1) The Noun Phrase Like all phrases, the constituents of the English noun phrase can be analyzed into both functional constituents and formal constituents. From a functional point of view, the noun phrase has four major components, occurring in a fixed order:
y y y y

the determinative , that constituent which determines the reference of the noun phrase in its linguistic or situational context; premodification , which comprises all the modifying or describing constituents before the head, other than the determiners; the head , around which the other constituents cluster; and postmodification , those which comprise all the modifying constituents placed after the head.

In the diagram below, notice that each functional component of a noun phrase (NP) can be further subclassified as we trace the diagram from left to right until we find that we have form classes (of the kind we discussed above) filling each constituent category.


a grammatical morpheme carrying information about mood. tense. y y the auxiliary . aspect. a lexical morpheme carrying its lexical information and. tense. since the information it carries about mood.Some Examples of the Noun Phrase in English FUNCTION Determiner Premodifier (a) E X A M P L E S (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) some this all my several such a a new mystery marvelous better badly needed the the information Head lions young age each time Postmodifier of the children with the family conclusion to the story children books which we recently enjoyed data bank filled with information person than I Pronoun Article FORMS Participle Noun Noun Adjective Prepositional Phrase Relative Clause Nonfinite Clause Complementation Quantifier Adjective Phrase Pronoun 2) The Verb Phrase The verb phrase (VP) in English has a noticeably different structure. usually. and voice. The verb phrase has two functional parts . an inflection. and the main verb. . modality. modality. and voice is quite different from the information carried by a noun phrase.

'Irregular verbs. Modality is signaled by the use of a modal auxiliary verb and the use of a base verb. probability. really. and ability.  English has two tenses. permission. most 'productive' inflection to mark time. Eg : Liz {must/should } go. Verbs using both the -s and -ed forms are known as 'regular' verbs in that those verbs employ the most common. and the -ed inflection marks the past tense. the -s inflection marks the present tense. modal + bas e. fall into seven subcategories. whi le verb forms that do not carry a tense inflection (such as participles) are called 'nonfinite' verbs. On most English verbs.  Tense systems mark time. Tense is an inflection on the verb that indicates the time reference of the expression. as in helps/helped . hopes/hoped . ("obligation") Another way to illustrate some of the relationships between form and function in the verb phrase is presented in the table below. stolen) or in some classes employing no participle inflections at all (such as put or cut as in Liz cuts the cake/Liz cut the cake /Liz has cut the cake ).  The modality system expresses the speakers' sense of obligation.The mood system in English is divided into fou r subcategories. volition. taken. loves/loved. In English. employing a number of inflections (such as -en for the participle inflection as in written. Some Examples of the Verb Phrase in English FUNCTION (a) E X (b) (c) can may have Auxiliaries do Main Verb believe go gone .' on the other hand. All verbs marked for tense are called 'finite' verbs. tense is marked on the first verb of the verb phrase.

that modifying constituent which follows the head. postmodification . (the major subcategory of postmodification here) that constituent which follows any postmodification and completes the specification of a meaning implied by the head. the head . or qualifying constituents which precede the head. which is an adjective or participle serving as the focus of the phrase.A M P L E S (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) FORM should might have might has have is been been were are be been being being going waiting waiting hired hired trying interviewed Modal Perfect Progressive Passive Auxiliary Support Main Verb 3) The Adjective Phrase The adjective phrase in English has four functional constituents. y y y y premodification . those modifying. describing. . and complementation .

Some Examples of the Adjective Phrase in English FUNCTION Premodifier (a) E X A M P L E S (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) quite unusually very so extremely too partly Head happy excited cloudy young Postmodifier indeed in spirit energetic for his age sweet good hot worried sunny to be true enough for me about the results of the test for this time of year Adverb FORM Adverb Adverb Phrase Adjective Prepositional Phrase Infinitive Clause Notice that the order of constituents in the adjective phrase. like all other phrase structures in English. helping us determine the constituent elements.To see some examples of adjective phrases. is relatively fixed. . examine the table below.

an adverb functions as head. To see some examples of adverb phrases. Some Examples of the Adverb Phrase in English FUNCTION Premodifier (a) E X A M P L E S (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) really so very too quite very Head quietly honestly hard however early well quickly likely Postmodifier indeed indeed to see well enough for us formerly of Cincinnati .4) The Adverb Phrase The adverb phrase in English is nearly identical to the adjective phrase. examine the table. In the adverb phrase. with only the expected changes in form.

a prepositional phrase expresses a relationship between the complement of the preposition and some other constituent of the sentence. Diagramm atically. In general. . This phrase is a 'nonheaded' construction in English since no one constituent functions as the center of the phrase.the preposition followed by its complement.(j) more easily than ever Adverb FORM Adverb Adverb Phrase Adverb Prepositional Phrase Infinitive Clause 5) The Prepositional Phrase The last structure for us to study at the phrase rank is the prepositional phrase. the structure of the prepositional phrase looks like this: The table below illustrates some of the possible structures found in the English prepositional phrase. the structure is divided into two functional components . the center on which the other elements depend. Instead.

Some Examples of the Prepositional Phrase in English FUNCTION Preposition Complement (a) E X A M P L E S (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) for with in next to into by before after to from now her time the table the thick of things the time that you read this slipping off to sleep running more than 500 miles in one week whomever it may concern what I can see Adverb Pronoun Noun FORM Preposition Noun Phrase -ing Clause Relative Clause .

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