English Grammar 101: Sentences, Clauses and Phrases

By Daniel Scocco

Welcome to English Grammar 101, the newest category on Daily Writing Tips. I thought that creating a series of posts covering the basic grammar rules and parts of speech would be useful to many people, especially if you consider the diversity of our readership.

On this first post we’ll cover sentences, clauses and phrases.


Sentences are made of two parts: the subject and the predicate.

The subject is the person or thing that acts or is described in the sentence. The predicate, on the other hand, is that action or description.

Complete sentences need both the subject and the predicate.


Sentences can be broken down into clauses. For example:

The boy is going to the school, and he is going to eat there.

This is a complete sentence composed of two clauses. There are mainly two types of clauses: independent clauses and subordinate clauses.

Independent clauses act as complete sentences, while subordinate clauses cannot stand alone and need another clause to complete their meaning. For example:

Independent clause: “The boy went to the school.”
Subordinate clause: “After the boy went to the school…”


A group of two or more grammatically linked words that do not have subject and predicate is a phrase. For example:

The girl is at home, and tomorrow she is going to the amusement park.

You can see that “the amusement park” is a phrase located in the second clause of the complete sentence above.

Phrases act like parts of speech inside clauses. That is, they can act as nouns, adjectives, adverbs and so on.

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143 Responses to “English Grammar 101: Sentences, Clauses and Phrases”

  • Dheeraj

    The simplicity of this website has made it more better for readers.

  • raaz bhagat

    I’m really want to speaking a well english for good impresstion among the people but sometimes a problem is that i have need to be think what should i express ???
    Even if I learnt so many gammer books …………
    So give me some tips to learnt a best way of speaking perfect englsh… I’m waiting!!!!!!

  • Kantie

    All I need is worksheets with sentences that have the wrong grammar so I can try to correct them…

  • tanvir

    what is actual difference between simple present tense and running present tense

  • Lavina

    I can speak english but the only problem occur is i am unable to improve my grammatical mistakes. Kindly help me for improving my grammar and also vocabulary so that i can speak well.
    Thanks and Regards

  • Puneet sharma

    please help me about english,that i want can speek english & i want some understand problem, while i could in future full command in english pls. sir i always your respect if u to help me for spoken english… Thanku so much, Puneet Sharma, Bulandshahr (u.p.)

  • preeti chauhan

    Hi,this is preeti and i m trying to improve my english on daily basis.And how can i dcrease my grammatical mistakes.can i improve with the help of NET.can i chat with anybody with your help.

  • Jennifer

    I was searching for recurring and reoccurring and found this site. Why do so many places say reoccurring is okay to use but it’s not in the dictionary? I have always used recurring. Can any give me their insight on it? Thanks.

  • layla

    i f i said did i enjoy the play or not ???what will be the answer yes or not i enjoy it

  • lilian

    I am often told to paraphrase my sentences by my supervisors, what is the problem with the sentences.

  • lilian

    am often told to paraphrase my sentences by my supervisors, what is the problem with the sentences.

  • raja

    I want to improve the English.


    Which is better: I got and A, I received and A, I earned and A?

  • shakaib

    i wnat to use english phrases in sentences for example instead of died we can write take his last breath so which website i visit to learn this can some one guide me.

  • aparna

    I wanna speak very good english please guide me and send me useful materials for removing gramatical error.

  • trusts

    Really, am looking for for help since i have done toefl for three times but had 72 instead of a minimum of 80 points needed.
    My problems are with the reading, and when to use commas in a sentence.

  • Dan

    Daniel, you wrote:

    Daniel on November 13, 2007 9:04 pm
    Benjamin, the comma on that spot is a matter of style. It is the same as in these two examples:
    I like three fruits: apple, banana, and lemon.
    I like three fruits: apple, banana and lemon.
    Both versions are correct; they just represent two different styles.

    I am not sure you are correct in using that example as a comparison because one is a list separator, and the other separates two different clauses. I believe that Benjimin is correct.

    It is also arguable that a comma or an omitted comma before the last item in a list changes the meaning of the sentence. A comma clearly defines that the last item is a separate entity in the list; whereas an omitted comma would indicate that the last two items are grouped together as a single item in the list.

    I may be off the mark, but I thought it would be worth submitting for discussion.

  • Lee

    Hello! U guys are great and doing well cause i can see people’s comment on your page. Today is my first time on your web page, i was given presentation on clause and phrase with their examples to be summited week. Also i have grammar problem mostly on structure of english language and i need your help to throw more light on the topic.

  • Debra Stiles

    I was helping my sister pack her dishes and the follow statement was made.

    I don’t want the dish to get broke.
    I don’t want the dish to get broken.

    Which is correct.


    I want to improve my English language. i have a problme in grammar and in the structure of the sentence and in tense i don’t know when i use all so tense .

  • joy

    i want to speak and write english correctly…thats my problem my grammar is always wrong…:c

  • gil

    Wow! this so wonderful! Everyone who study English will really appreciate it! Thanks a lot!

  • sweety

    i’m in my second year at the university ,and i have many probleme in english language i can”t express my ideas and i have a problme in grammar and in the structure of the sentence and in tense i don’t know when i use all so tense .beacuse of this i feel i’m stupid when i see my classemate speak english fluently and write a big phara and essay without any probleme ..plz help me to improve my english

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