Grammar Sub-Topic: Noun phrases and Verb phrases



A phrase is a group of related words that, unlike a sentence, has no subjet-predicate combination. Words in a phrase act together to function as a single part of speech. Some act as nouns, some as verbs, some as adjective and some as adverbs. Remember, phrases can’t stand alone and express a complete thought like sentences. There are five types of phrases: noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, adverb phrase and prepositional phrase.

The underlined words below are phrases.

1- The man slapped him. (noun phrase)

2- Olu and Mary lived happily ever after. (adverbial phrase)

3- She might be leaving tomorrow. (verb phrase)

4- She threw the book into the bush. (propositional phrase)

5- The woman is very beautiful. (adjective phrase)

Noun phrases

A noun phrase is a group of words that acts as a noun. It has a a noun as its key word. A noun phrase functions as the subject, object, or compliment of the sentence. It can also function as indirect object, object compliment, prepositional complement and apposition.


.The man killed the snake. (subject)

. She saw the man. (object)

. The police officer reported seing the suspect. (subject)

. The man bought a book. (object)

. My class teacher explained the topic to the students. (subject)

. Riding the black stallion terrified Mark. (subject)

. Calling uncle Roberto is calling for trouble. (subject)

Verb phrases

A verb phase is a group of words acting as a verb and having a verb as its key word. It performs the action of the sentence just like the verb. A verb phrase is made up of a main verb and one or more auxiliary verbs or helping verbs.

A helping verb includes forms of be, such as am, is, are, was, were, being, and been; forms of have, such as has and had; forms of do, such as does and did; forms of can, such as could, will, would, and shall; and forms of should, such as may, might, and must.


– Tolu and Bola will (auxiliary) go (verb) to the fun-fair tomorrow.

– You would (modal auxiliary) have (auxiliary) gone (main verb).

– She should (modal auxiliary) go (verb) to the party.


A- Underline the noun phrases in the following sentences and state the function of each.

1. The man bought a book.

2. Olu helped the girl.

3. The woman gave the girl her food.

4. It rains heavily in the west.

5. The man became a lawyer.

B- Underline the verb phrases in the following sentences.

1. Chijoke will travel to Enugu tomorrow.

2. She may be doing the job.

3. They were ready hours ago.

4. I have been reading this book since last week.

5. The children are playing outside.