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Verb Phrase Examples

Before you learn about verb phrase examples, you need to understand what averb is and what a phrase is. After that, you can better understand the functions of verb phrases, especially with some examples of them.

Everyone knows that verbs show action, like jump, write, smell, talk, and sleep. Verbs can also function as a link between the subject of the verb and information about that subject. The information is usually descriptive in nature. Some of these verbs are forms of the verb be and some of them are: is, am, are, are being, was, were, has been, might be, and being. A few examples of other linking verbs are: feel, seem, stay, turn, grow, smell, taste, sound, appear, and become. Notice that some of the verbs on the last list can be both action verbs and linking verbs depending on their use, like:

She smells the roses. (active) The wet dog smells awful. (linking) He appeared on stage as a dancer. (active) Tony appears sad. (linking)

A phrase is a group of words that have a unified function in a sentence. They can act like nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. Types of phrases include prepositional, infinitive, participial, and gerund. Following is an explanation of each and examples:

Prepositional phrases have a preposition and an object. They function as adverbs or adjectives. Examples are: after a nap, at the store, and over the rainbow. Infinitives phrases have an infinitive plus an object and can function as adverbs, adjectives, or nouns. Some are: to see the world and to borrow the car. Participle phrases function as adjectives and begin with a participle. A participle is an adjective made from a verb, like walking or danced. Participles can be either past tense or present tense. Examples of participle phrases are: surfing the web and surprised by his reaction. Gerund phrases begin with a gerund, which is a word ending with ing, like playing. Gerund phrases function like a noun. Examples are: playing tennis or embarrassing people.

Verb Phrases

Phrases can also be classified by the head of the phrase, which is the key word in the phrase. Here are the types and example:

Prepositional phrase: in the car, behind the tree Noun phrases: the purple cow, a funny clown Verb phrases: eat pizza, chasing a wild goose Appositive phrases: my strange brother, his overbearing mother Absolute phrases: These modify an entire clause, like He yelled at her, his eyes glaring. or They came into the principals office, their heads down.

Verb Phrase Examples

A verb phrase can be the predicate of the clause or sentence. A verb phrase can also be a phrase that contains a verb and its complements, objects, or modifiers. Following are further explanations and examples. Here are some verb phrase examples where the verb phrase is the predicate of a sentence. In this case, the verb phrase consists of the main verb plus any auxiliary, or helping, verbs.

She was walking to the mall. Ted might eat the cake. You must go right now. Words were spoken. The teacher is writing a report. You have woken up everyone in the neighborhood. Next are some verb phrase examples of verb phrases where the phrase has a single function which means it can act like an adverb or an adjective. The phrase would include the verb and any modifiers, complements, or objects. She came across some old love letters. The small dog was reluctant to learn new things. Finally, we can afford to buy a new house. Walking on the ice, she slipped and fell. Open the door to let the fresh air in. To make lemonade, you first need some lemons.
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