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Phrases ENG 110 Prof. K. Horowitz Index • Objectives • Introduction • Phrase Types • Try Your Luck! • Practice Exercises Objectives • This module is designed to instruct student in the different phrases that compose sentences. After completing the previous modules and by the end of this one, students should be able to break sentences down into subject and predicate, as well as identify the individual noun, verb, adjective, and adverb phrases that compose those two parts. Introduction • Language, as we know, is processed in our minds in meaningful chunks. Were we to try to interpret it on a word by word basis, we would put too much of a strain on short-term memory, causing us to lose comprehension of long, complex sentences. By breaking language into chunks with meaning, we can process at an acceptable speed and retain comprehension. Phase Types • These chunks, or segments, that we divide information into are called phrases. There are several types of phrases, the largest being the subject & the predicate. • Noun Phrase: consists of a noun or any word that can substitute a noun, such as a gerund or pronoun. Nouns here can be modified by other words (the blue car), phrases (the students in Math 101) or clauses (the house that we own). Words that modify nouns are determiners and adjectives. • Adjective Phrase: consists of an adjective or any word that can be adjectival in function. The typical adjective phrase consists of a single adjective (the tall man) or an adjective modified by a qualifier (the very tall man). • Main Verb Phrase: includes the main verb of the sentence, as well as auxiliaries. The main verb is the headword and can be modified here by an auxiliary “be” verb (I am speaking), a “have” or “do” verb (we have seen the movie), or a modal (I must speak with you). • Adverb Phrase: includes an adverb or any word that can substitute an adverb (be adverbial in function). The typical phrase consists of a single adverb (quickly) or an adverb headword and a qualifier (very quickly). • Prepositional Phrase: consists of at least two words that begin with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun. The noun or pronoun is called the object of the preposition, and every prepositional phrase has one. For example, the phrase “with Tom” has a preposition (with) and an object (Tom). You can have as many prepositional phrases in a sentence as you need. Try Your Luck Practice Exercises Identify the phrases in the sentences below. • My young friend loves big red apples. • Jack might have been sleeping quietly. • The large fish jumped out of the water suddenly. • Bill should be very happy. • Antonio is the best player in town, really. • A huge African elephant has been stepping on Mickey Mouse mercilessly. • My brother Tom is a policeman. • Jack and Jill went up the hill. • Trixie had left her husband desperately. • Our English class is hard but fun. • Wonderful! See you next module! Success! Incorrect! Please Try Again.
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