Phrase vs. Clause

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Phrase and Clause is that the Phrase is a group of (one or more) words and Clause is a smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition

  • Phrase

    In everyday speech, a phrase is any group of words, often carrying a special idiomatic meaning; in this sense it is synonymous with expression. In linguistic analysis, a phrase is a group of words (or possibly a single word) that functions as a constituent in the syntax of a sentence, a single unit within a grammatical hierarchy. A phrase typically appears within a clause, but it is possible also for a phrase to be a clause or to contain a clause within it.

    There are also types of phrases like noun phrase and prepositional phrase.

  • Clause

    In language, a clause is a part of the sentence that contains a verb. A typical clause consists of a subject and a predicate, the latter typically a verb phrase, a verb with any objects and other modifiers. However, the subject is sometimes not said or explicit, often the case in null-subject languages if the subject is retrievable from context, but it sometimes also occurs in other languages such as English (as in imperative sentences and non-finite clauses).

    A simple sentence usually consists of a single finite clause with a finite verb that is independent. More complex sentences may contain multiple clauses. Main clauses (matrix clauses, independent clauses) are those that can stand alone as a sentence. Subordinate clauses (embedded clauses, dependent clauses) are those that would be awkward or incomplete if they were alone.

  • Phrase (noun)

    A short written or spoken expression.

  • Phrase (noun)

    A word or group of words that functions as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence, usually consisting of a head, or central word, and elaborating words.

  • Phrase (noun)

    A small section of music in a larger piece.

  • Phrase (noun)

    A mode or form of speech; diction; expression.

  • Phrase (verb)

    To express (an action, thought or idea) by means of particular words.

    “I wasn’t sure how to phrase my condolences without sounding patronising.”

  • Phrase (verb)

    To perform a passage with the correct phrasing.

  • Phrase (verb)

    To divide into melodic phrases.

  • Clause (noun)

    A verb, its necessary grammatical arguments, and any adjuncts affecting them.

  • Clause (noun)

    A verb along with its subject and their modifiers. If a clause provides a complete thought on its own, then it is an independent (superordinate) clause; otherwise, it is (subordinate) dependent.

  • Clause (noun)

    A separate part of a contract, a will or another legal document.

  • Clause (verb)

    To amend (a bill of lading or similar document).


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