Performance Indicators:

P.S. ELA-1 Language:   Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

A. Notice and correct grammatical and mechanical errors in writing.
B. Demonstrate command of correct sentence structure and variety.
C. Apply standard usage to formal speaking and writing.

Write a definition for each of the following terms and write a related sentence underlining the term in use.  You will not be able to use your definitions on the Clause/phrase test.

  These definitions, along with the sentences will comprise the requirement for submission of the phrase/clause practice due on DAY 3.  The definitions and examples of these terms are included in this link.



Infinitive Phrase

Gerund Phrase


Participial Phrase

Prepositional Phrase

Adjective Phrase

Adverb Phrase

Appositive Phrase

Go to the links below in order to learn how to recognize the five types of phrases that we will study.

Phrase Quiz #1

Phrase Quiz #2

Prepositional Phrase Battleship Game

Prepositional Phrase Quiz #3

Phrase Quiz #4


A phrase is a group of words that do not contain a subject and its verbs.  Phrases serve as a single part of speech.


An infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive — the root of the verb preceded by to — and any modifiers or complements associated with it. Infinitive phrases can act as adjectives, adverbs, and nouns.

  • Her plan to subsidize child care won wide acceptance among urban politicians. [modifies plan, functions as an adjective]
  • She wanted to raise taxes. [noun-object of the sentence]
  • To watch Uncle Billy tell this story is an eye-opening experience. [noun-subject of the sentence]


Gerunds are verbals that end in -ing and that act as nouns, frequently are associated with modifiers and complements in a gerund phrase. These phrases function as units and can do anything that a noun can do.

  • Cramming for tests is not a good study strategy. [gerund phrase as subject]
  • John enjoyed swimming in the lake after dark. [gerund phrase as object]
  • I’m really not interested in studying biochemistry for the rest of my life. [gerund phrase as object of the preposition in ]


Present participles, verbals ending in -ing, and past participles, verbals that end in -ed (for regular verbs) or other forms (for irregular verbs), are combined with complements and modifiers and become part of important phrasal structures. Participial phrases always act as adjectives.

  • The stone steps, having been worn down by generations of students, needed to be replaced. [modifies “steps”]
  • Working around the clock, the firefighters finally put out the last of the California brush fires. [modifies “firefighters”]
  • The pond, frozen over since early December, is now safe for ice-skating. [modifies “pond”]


A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, a noun or pronoun that serves as the object of the preposition, and, more often than not, an adjective or two that modifies the object.  A prepositional phrase will either serve as an adjective or an adverb.

The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white.
In this sentence, the prepositional phrase serves as an adjective modifying the noun hills.

He waited impatiently on this side where there was no shade and no trees.
In this sentence, the prepositional phrase serves as an adverb phrase modifying where he waited.


An appositive is a re-naming or amplification of a word that immediately precedes it.   It is made up of a noun or pronoun that follows another noun or pronoun to identify or explain it.

  • My favorite teacher, a fine chess player in her own right, has won several state-level tournaments. [Noun phrase as appositive]


Phrase Review

Read the following paragraph and indicate the type of phrase that each of the italicized group of words represents corresponding with the number that is located above them.

A.  gerund phrase     B.  appositive phrase     C.  participial phrase     D. infinitive phrase
E. prepositional phrase

             1                          2                                                                                                  3
Cheating on tests
, an offensive act, is often overlooked.  Al’s  cheat sheet, under his test,

is an indication of his lack of self-respect.  The grade, an ultimate goal, is meaningless

            5                                          6             
under such conditions
To find fulfillment, one must take an active role in his life.

                7                       8                                                         9
Achieving success
, in everything, should be the goal of anyone.  A genuine student of life,

an honest person has an endless appetite for knowledge that is provoked by curiosity and

                                                                             11                                                                    12
wonder.  I observe many students, seeking externally, what can only be discovered from

                                13                                                                                 14
withinStudying for tests is a self-fulfilling manifestation.  Benefiting from the

assessment is only important to those students who truly want to succeed.

1.  gerund
2.  appositive
3.  preposition (adjectival)
4.  appositive
5.  preposition
6.  infinitive
7.  gerund
8. proposition
9.  preposition
10. appositive
11. participle
12. preposition
13. gerund
14. gerund
15. infinitive