Phrases

noun | verb | prepositional | verbal

♦ Noun Phrases

A noun phrase is simply a noun composed of two or more words, such as "mother-in-law."

♦ Verb Phrases

A verb phrase consists of the main verb and all its auxillary (helping) verbs. Consider the sentence "By the end of this summer, my brother will have visited every state park in Oklahoma." The verb phrase is "will have visited."

♦ Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition and end with the noun or pronoun that is the object of that preposition. In the sentence "The old dog lay under the delapidated front porch," the prepositional phrase is "under the delapidated front porch." The preposition is "under"; the object of the preposition is "porch."

Often one prepositional phrase modifies the object of a preceding prepositional phrase. These are often referred to as "tandom" prepositional phrases. Consider the sentence "We saw a bear in a tree in my neighbor's yard." The prepositional phrase "in a tree" modifies the verb "saw," telling "where" we saw the bear. The prepositional phrase "in my neighbor's yard" modifies the word "tree" by telling "which" tree.

Another type of "tandom" prepositional phrase occurs when one prepositional phrase follows another, but does not modify the first's object. Consider the sentence "We will meet you at the theater after dinner." The prepositional phrase "at the theater" is an adveb phrase modifying the verb "will meet"; it indicates "where" we will meet you. The prepositional phrase "after dinner" is an adveb phrase also modifying the verb "will meet"; it indicates "when" we will meet you.

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♦ Verbals and Verbal Phrases

Verbals are not verbs, but they are formed from verbs. You can think of a verbal as a word that is usually a verb, but is being used as a noun, adjective, or adverb in this particular application. The verbal plus all of its modifiers and complements forms a verbal phrase. There are three kinds of verbals:

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Check Your Understanding:

Identify the type and function of the verbal phrase used in each of the following sentences:

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