Phrasal Categories


Adjective Phrase refers to a phrase built upon an adjective, which functions as the head of that phrase.
Adjectives are defined as “words that describe nouns.”
Adjective phrases is a phrase that consist of an adjective plus any modifiers such as adverbs and prepositional phrases.
For example:
dark blue
very sad
light brown
too hot
extremely beautiful

Examples in sentences:
• Humans can be fairly ridiculous animals.
• Buddy thinks the shampoo tastes awfully funny.
• Tony lost his dark brown briefcase.
• They are fond of animals.



Adverb Phrase or an adverbial phrase (AdvP) is a term for a group of two or more words operating adverbially.
Compare the following sentences:
1. I’ll go to bed soon. (Adverb)
I’ll go to bed when I’ve finished my book. (Adverb Phrase)
2. Tony decided to move to Bontang yesterday. (Adverb)
Tony decided to move to Bali in June last year. (Adverb Phrase)
3. The mango fell here. (Adverb)
The mango fell on this spot. (Adverb Phrase)
4. This product is available everywhere. (Adverb)
This product is available in all places. (Adverb Phrase)
5. You can find the pencil there. (Adverb)
You can find the pencil in that place. (Adverb Phrase)
6. He has gone abroad. (Adverb)
He has gone to a foreign nation. (Adverb Phrase)

Adverb phrases made with prepositions
Type Adverb phrase Example
Manner with a hammer The carpenter hit the nail with a hammer.
Place next door The woman who lives next door is a doctor.
Time before the holidays We must finish the project before the holidays.
Frequency every month Jodie buys two CDs every month.
Purpose for his mother Jack bought the flowers for his mother

Adverb phrases made with infinitives
Adverb phrase can be made with the infinitive form of a verb. Most of these phrases express purpose, as in these examples:
I’m saving my money to buy a car.
The students all showed up to support the team.
Sally brought a painting home from school to show to her mother.


The combination of a preposition and a noun phrase is called a prepositional phrase

The bolded phrases are examples of prepositional phrases in English:
• She is on the computer.
• Ryan could hear her across the room.
• David walked down the ramp.
• They walked to their school.
• Philip ate in the kitchen.

Prepositional phrases have a preposition as the central element of the phrase. In contrast to other types of phrases, this cannot be described as a head, since the preposition cannot stand on its own.



A noun phrase is either a single noun or pronoun or a group of words containing a noun or a pronoun that function together as a noun or pronoun, as the subject or object of a verb.

Case: ‘the car’ are noun phrases, but ‘car’ is just a noun.

EG: John was late.
(‘John’ is the noun phrase functioning as the subject of the verb.)

Noun phrases normally consist of a head noun, which is optionally modified. Possible modifiers include:
• determiners: articles (the, a), demonstratives (this, that), numerals (two, five, etc.), possessives (my, their, etc.), and quantifiers (some, many, etc.).
• adjectives (the red ball); or
• complements, in the form of a prepositional phrase (such as: the student of physics);
• modifiers; pre-modifiers if before the noun and usually either as nouns (the university student) or adjectives (the beautiful lady), or post-modifiers if after the noun. A postmodifier may be either a prepositional phrase (the man with long hair) or a relative clause (the house where I live).


A verb phrase is a syntactic unit composed of at least one verb and the dependents of that verb.

A verb phrase may be constructed from a single verb; often, however, the verb phrase will consist of various combinations of the main verb and any auxiliary verbs, plus optional complements, and adjuncts.

For example:
Yankee batters hit the ball to win their first World Series since 2000.
Mary saw the man through the window.
David gave Mary a book.

1. The first example contains the verb phrase hit the ball to win their first World Series since 2000.
2. The second example contains the main verb saw, the noun phrase (NP), the man, and the prepositional phrase (PP), through the window, which together form the verb phrase.
3. The third example contains the main verb gave, and two noun phrases Mary and a book, both selected by the verb in this case. All three together form the verb phrase.

Exercise: Analyze the phrases of the sentences below.
1. My teacher sees the fairly clever student in front of the campus to take him home.
2. I am taking a very difficult exam in the campus next year

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