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Standard English has several different types of phrases. Among them are the noun phrase, the prepositional phrase, the absolute phrase, the infinitive phrase and the participial phrase. What is a phrase? A phrase is a group of words that express a single idea. An example of a phrase is: “Six and one have dozen ways or another.”
The idea expressed is that it doesn’t matter which way you do something because in the end, you’ll get the same results.
Noun Phrase: A noun phrase includes a noun and a modifier. The modifier could be an adjective or any one of a number of other phrases.
Examples of noun phrases include: red shirt, angry man and velvet seat. In these three examples, shirt, man and seat are the nouns while red, angry and velvet are adjectives. When you look at the noun and the adjective together, you have a “noun phrase.”
Prepositional Phrase: A prepositional phrase include a preposition, a noun or a pronoun that acts as the object of the preposition. The prepositional phrase tells where and/or when something occurs. An example of a prepositional phrase would be: “He followed the stranger outside of the pool hall.” In this sentence “he” is the pronoun and the “stranger” is the object. The word “outside” is the preposition and then, outside of where? “Outside of the pool hall” which is the prepositional phrase.
Absolute Phrase: An absolute phrase is a group of words that contain a noun or a pronoun and a participle, along with a modifier. Absolute phrases do not connect directly to or modify any specific words contained in the rest of a sentence. Rather, absolute phrases modify the entire sentence by adding additional information. An example of an absolute phrase is: The game nearly finished, the Patriots would emerge as the winner! Here we can see that “the game nearly finished” modifies “the Patriots would emerge as the winner.” It also contains a noun, i.e., the “game” and a participle with a modifier “nearly finished.”
Infinitive Phrase: An infinitive phrase contains the root of a verb, for example: to play or to hide. An example of an infinitive phrase is: “To go to the movies, he had to clean up his room.” “To go” is the root of the verb go and “to go to the movies” is an infinitive phrase.
Participial Phrase: Participial phrases always act as adjectives and include verbs ending in “ing.” An example of a participial phrase is: “The kitchen floor, having been mopped clean, sparkled brightly.” “Having been mopped clean” is the participial phrase since the verb ends in “ing.”
For each sentence below, determine if the underlined portion is a noun phrase, a prepositional phrase, an absolute phrase, an infinitive phrase or a participial phrase.