Difference Between Phrase and Sentence

Phrase vs Sentence
 

Since we often confuse words like phrase, clause and sentence together in the English langue, we should pay more attention to the difference between phrase and sentence . Simply, a phrase is a group of words where the subject and verb are not seen together. Due to this reason a phrase only expresses a simple meaning or a concept. A sentence, however , is also a group of words where both the subject and verb can be seen. This allows it to convey a complete meaning. This is the main difference between the two. While a sentence conveys a complete meaning to the reader, a phrase fails to do so. It does not convey a complete meaning to the reader. This article attempts to highlight the difference between a phrase and a sentence, through a comprehensive understanding of the two.

What is a Phrase?

A phrase is a group of words that form a part of a sentence. A phrase cannot express a complete thought or else a meaning but can be used as parts of a sentence. There are different types of phrases such as noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective phrases, adverb phrases, etc. For now let us use two types of phrases. They are noun phrases and verb phrases. A noun phrase contains the subject of a sentence such as the little girl, that man, etc. A verb phrase contains the predicate. For example, is eating an ice cream. If you observe closely, you will see that a noun phrase or a verb phrase fails to convey a complete meaning in isolation. This is because it fails to provide the reader with sufficient information to grasp the complete meaning.

What is a Sentence?

A sentence is also a group of words but unlike a phrase it conveys a complete meaning or thought. A sentence contains both the subject and verb. Let us take the same example.

Difference Between Phrase and Sentence   

     The little girl – Subject (noun phrase)

     Is eating an ice cream – Predicate (verb phrase)

     The little girl is eating an ice cream.

This highlights that a sentence conveys a complete meaning because it is a combination of phrases. However, sentences are not always this simple in structure. This example resembles a simple sentence. However, there are other categories such as compound sentences, complex sentences and also compound complex sentences. In these categories, the sentence is made up of a variety of phrases.

What is the difference between Phrase and Sentence?

• A phrase is a group of words that do not have both the subject and verb.

Nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, gerunds, infinitives, etc. can be used as phrases.

• A phrase can convey a meaning that is incomplete.

• There can be a number of phrases in a sentence.

• A sentence is also a group of words that convey a complete meaning.

• There are different types of sentences such as simple, complex, compound and compound complex sentences.

• A sentence has a subject and a verb together which allows it to convey a direct meaning to the reader.

 

Image Courtesy: Little girl lovin her ice cream via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)