GRMR 1 - Phrase analysis

Phrase analysis is an important step in the study of English language.  Phrases plays very important role in packing information.  This analysis is important in understanding long sentences.   After phrase analysis we study clause analysis.

Phrase is a part of a sentence but doesn't give full meaning.  For example, the phrase "in the sky" is a phrase in the sentence "The birds are flying in the sky".  Phrases does't contain Finite Verbs. 

Finite verb: Finite verbs have subjects and a sense of completeness.  They may be simple or compound and are said to have NUMBER and PERSON, which they take from their SUBJECTS. 

Non - Finite Verb: Non - Finite Verbs do not have subjects or a sense of completeness.  Nor are they said to have number or person although, most of them, like finite verbs, do have tense.  Thye cannot be used to make a clause, but can be used to make phrases. 

Types of phrases:

There are nine different kinds of phrases.

A. Noun Phrase: A noun phrase is made up of a noun and its accompanying modifiers. It is the most frequently used phrase to pack information.  A simple noun can be heavily modified with adjective, post modification clauses

Structure of Noun Phrase:
Noun Phrase (NP) = determiners + (pre-modifiers) + noun + (post-modifiers)
Jaya Prakash, India, The top of the building, The girl who went in just now, The boy in blue shirt, A rumour that his resignation had been demanded spread among the employees

Heavily modified phrase:

[the direct result [of [the continuing loss [of [yet another typical feature [of [the English countryside]]]]]]]

Adopted from Longman grammar of spoken and written english

[at the expense[of [a brief excursion[into [the mathematical realm [of [complex number]]]]]]  

Adopted from Longman grammar of spoken and written english

B. Adjective Phrase:

The adjective phrase describes a quality or an attribute in the phrase and functions as an adjective. In the following sentences, if there is more than one adjective in the sentence then they are taken consecutively and constitute a phrase - (handsome young man, annoying French girl)
Structure of Adjective Phrase (Adj. P) = (pre-modifiers) + adjective + (post-modifiers)
very tall, extremely busy, large enough.

C. Verb Phrase:

The predicate of a sentence is always made up of the verb phrase and its complements. The main verb in a sentence can take on several auxiliary verbs or models thus forming a verb phrase.
Structure of Verb Phrase (VP) = (helping verbs) + full verb.
She laughed, I am working, We have been waiting for the results, She can speak German and French,  They might have been expecting all that

D. Adverb Phrase:

An adverb phrase functions as an adverb. It is made up of a single adverb or a group of words that function as adverbs. It is called an adverbial phrase.
REMEMBER:  Adverbial phrases can be constructed with prepositions as well as with an infinitive form of a verb.
 Purpose:     I make wax toys for fun
 Manner:     The barber cut my hair with a pair of scissors
 Place:         The man who lives in the bunglow is a doctor
 Time:          We must finish our assignment before sunrise
 Frequency: Raghu buys a new dress every month
 Purpose:     Raju bought a card for his father
 Purpose:     He is saving money to buy a house
 Purpose:     The players all showed up to support the team
 Purpose:     Sally brought a paper puppet home from school to show to her brother
E. Prepositional Phrase:
A prepositional phrase is made up of a preposition, a noun or a pronoun (that is the object of the preposition) and, usually, an adjective that modifies the object).

Structure of Prepositional phrase (PP) =  preposition + a complement (= a noun phrase, generally)
above my head, among the trees, around our house,  at the shop, under the bed.

 F. Appositive Phrase

An appositive phrase is an extension of a word that immediately goes before it.
 1. My favourite actor, a wonderful comedian in his own right, has won several international awards. [Noun phrase as appositive]
 2.  An excellent exercise, walking briskly, helps reduce body fat quickly. [Gerund phrase as appositive]
 3. Carol’s goal in life, to become an engineer, is fading slowly. [Infinitive phrases as appositive]

The following 3 phrases are usually studied as  Non - Finite verbs.

G. Infinitive Phrase:

An infinitive phrase contains an infinitive and a complement or any modifiers connected to it. Infinitive phrases act as nouns, adjectives and adverbs.
 1. Her objective to promote window remarriage won wide acceptance in rural areas. [modifies objective, functions as an adjective]
 2. He wanted to educate the masses. [Noun - object of the sentence]
 3. Listening to Sam recount his wartime exploits is an overwhelming experience. [Noun - subject of the sentence]
 4. To know him is to love him. [Noun, predicate nominative]
 5. I went to college to study literature. [Object of a Infinitive].

H. Gerund Phrase:

Gerunds verbs, ending in -ing and acting as nouns, usually are associated with complements and modifiers in a gerund phrase. These phrases act as units and can function in every way like a noun. Prepositional phrases are usually part of the gerund phrase.
 1. Cramming just before the exams is a poor study strategy. [Gerund phrase as subject]
 2. Nancy enjoyed swimming in the sea before sunrise. [Gerund phrase as object]
 3. She is interested in teaching mathematics for the rest of her life. [Gerund phrase as object of the preposition in].

I. Participle Phrase:

Present participles, verbs that end in -ing, and past participles, verbs ending in -ed are joined with complements and modifiers to form phrasal structures. Participial phrases function only as adjectives. When they start a sentence, they are set off by a comma which makes them an introductory modifier. In other cases, participial phrases are set off by commas if they are parenthetical parts.
 1. The wooden staircase, having become dilapidated because of thousands of traipsing visitors, needed to be repaired. [modifies “staircase”]
 2. The tailors, working round-the-clock, finally finished the stitching assignment. [modifies “tailors”]