Difference between Phrase and Sentence

In order to improve our syntax and grammar we must know basic concepts and know how to differentiate them. This is the case of phrase and sentence, we often confuse them, but today we explain what each one means and their main differences.

What is a phrase?

A sentence is made up of several words that together give meaning. Lacking a verb conjugated in a personal way, this sense will never be complemented, because it needs other sentences and phrases to be able to express a complete idea.

Examples of sentences

  • Good Morning!
  • Delicious!
  • Starve
  • Ladies first
  • Ladies and gentlemen!

What is a sentence?

According to the syntax, the sentence is the smallest fragment of a speech.

The sentence is a set or syntactically autonomous words, that is, they all have a complete meaning. Although the meaning of these words cannot be precise, it is necessary that they exist, in this way the idea will be complete, even when taken out of context.

Examples of Sentences

  • My brother bought a backpack
  • I lived in Spain
  • I win!
  • stuart drives a car

As you can see, each one of them has a complete and independent meaning, each one consists of a predicate and a subject, and the verb is personal. Sentences can be classified into one-member sentences and two-member sentences.

Differences between Phrases and Sentences

  • The phrase is an expression that does not have a complete sense, but the sentence is a minimal expression with complete sense.
  • In the sentence there are two basic units: subject and predicate. Therefore, the sentence has a predicative relationship. While in a sentence there is no such relationship.
  • Phrases are also known as nonsentence statements, whereas sentences are statements and sentences themselves.

Specifically, the difference between the two is that while a statement has a complete and autonomous meaning, the sentences do not.

It is believed that in the sentences there must be a verb conjugated in the personal form. But in the sentences there must be verbs in the form of a participle or gerund, but never in a personal form. Although the above is true, from a technical point of view it is not correct.

How to differentiate phrases from sentences?

One of the ways to differentiate sentences and phrases is to practice. Next, we leave you some exercises or examples so that, based on the information given, you can distinguish the sentences and phrases of the following statements:

  • Be quiet!
  • If it rains today we get wet
  • Help!
  • Hello!
  • Come here!
  • Kill or die
  • The rain fell hard yesterday
  • It’s me
  • The soda tastes good
  • Not allowed giving up
  • Diana cried all night

Phrases and sentences for elementary school children

Download the full PDF: here

Convert phrases to sentences

Here are some examples that could help you in your task:

From sentence to sentence:

You here? -> How come you’re here?

Whose? -> Who is it?

What a house! -> This house is huge!

From sentence to phrase:

I need help -> Help please!

What a beautiful day it is! -> Good morning!

Please, where is the captain? -> And the captain?

We are finally alone! -> Alone at last!

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