Home Book Writing Services Resume Writing Services Editing Services Research Services About Writing Resources Business and Work Life Privacy Policy Contact Information

Professional Writing Services

Clauses and Phrases

Clauses and Phrases: How Are They Different?


Clauses have a noun/pronoun (subject) and a verb (predicate) that shows the subject completing an action. They can be dependent or independent.

Independent Clauses

An independent clause forms a complete thought that can stand alone as (a sentence). Examples of independent clauses are as follows:

Example 1: Kelly planted a garden in our backyard.

"Kelly" is the noun/subject. "Planted" is the verb/predicate that describes the action Kelly took.

Example 2: He went to bed.

"He" is the subject, and "went" is the predicate that describes what he did.

Dependent Clauses

A dependent clause does not form a complete thought, so it cannot stand alone. Examples include the following:

Example 3: Because Kelly planted a garden in the backyard

Example 4: Before he went to bed

Although these clauses have subjects (nouns) and predicates (verbs), they do not form complete thoughts. They can be completed by connecting them to a main clause in the following manner:

Example 5: Because Kelly planted a garden in our backyard, Rich and Jane will host the family barbecue this year.

Example 6: Before he went to bed, Alex turned off the lights and made sure the doors were locked.


A phrase may contain a noun or a verb, but it does not have a subject that performs an action (predicate).

Consider Examples 1 and 2:

Kelly planted a garden in our backyard.

He went to bed.

"In our back yard" and "to bed" are prepositional phrases.

The sentences listed below also contain phrases:

We are going to the mall tomorrow.

She left her handbag in the ladies room.

After running several miles, she finally collapsed.

Before entering my house, please remove your shoes.


Write.com. Clauses and Phrases. http://www.write.com/writing-resources-articles/general-writing/grammar/clauses-and-phrases/.

© 2014 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.

Chicago, Illinois 60615 (773) 405-5916