English Grammar 101: Sentences, Clauses and Phrases

By Daniel Scocco

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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

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.

Clauses

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…”

Phrases

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”

  • nafisa

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    I plan to write a novel about my school…please help me on how to go about it….
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  • wanna learn more

    I’m glad that I found this site. I always need advice on grammarical

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    any specific reason to choose clauses rather than phrases or vice

    versa except for variations or brevity?

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  • Komakech Dominic

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  • Irfanullah

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  • toyinbo olusegun

    I want you to give all examples of phrases clauses that we have in english

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  • Janis Pence

    Is the sentence punctuation in this sentence correct?
    Islam was declared to be the ONLY permissible religion so the Brotherhood nationalized all “Christian” church houses by converting them to mosques or state run food warehouses.

  • PreciseEdit

    Janis,

    No. See the example under clauses in the original post. You’re missing a comma. Also, you need a hyphen in “state-run.”

    We deal with both these issues in the Precise Edit Training Manual and in our Writing Tips for a Year service. You can get both on our website at .

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  • PreciseEdit

    Balaji and Darwin: In addition to the excellent writing advice on this blog, you might check out the recommended writing resources on , particularly The Elements of Style and The Business Writer’s Handbook.

    Two other recommendations:
    1. Get a good dictionary and use it for checking spelling, word meaning, and correct usage. might also be useful.
    2. Read aloud well-written books. Find books that are at your English reading level (even children’s books, if necessary) and read them aloud.

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  • Jahongir

    Hi! My greetings! I have solved some grammar problems owing to your printing materials. And i ask you to teach how we can connect to difficult types of sentences. Also give me some information about if clauses. How to use words like “however, despite, throughly, in spite of, “. And how we can use english words in its true way? How to chose pozitive and neutral words when writing articles?

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    I visited this site to improve my English knowledge though..

    I just can’t speak fluently yet..I wish this site could help me out.

  • Bharath

    Watching English movies can help improve spoken English. However, I could refine my English skills through the training sessions offered by the call centre where I once worked.

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  • nehemiah

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    i am very poor in english transltion .so pleas give sugtion for the how to translte and make sentence .

  • Hina

    I am not sure if I am writing the below phrase correctly. Can anyone advice me.

    “Our current strength is only 1 and half manpower”

  • rabah

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  • sowmitha

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  • arshad

    i just speak english. problem is on the moment i forget formula
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  • Rajesh Kumar

    I am a social worker woking with an NGO. I am very weak in English. I want to fluent in writing and speaking in english. kindly guide me.

  • tuntunnine

    your English are very good, i think so,hank’s you very much

  • bhimaraj

    i want to learn about some basic of english i don’t no how to speak

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