A phrase is two or more words that:

contain a subject but no verb                              a purple vest (no verb)
contain a verb but no subject                             went to the library (no subject)
contain neither a subject or a verb                    at a bookstore (neither a subject or a verb)

There are five types of phrases: prepositional phrases, adverbial phrases, noun phrases, phrasal verbs and verbal phrases.

Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases open with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun function and as a multiword adjective phrase or an adverb phrase.

A prepositional phrase as an adjective

The woman in the pink blouse.
XXX((In the pink hat describes the noun woman)

A prepositional phrase as an adverb

The couple ate lunch at 1:00.
XXX(At 1:00 tells when they ate)

Adverbial Phrases

Adverbial phrases begin with an adverb, a prepositional phrase or an infinitive phrase and modify verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

Mr  Harris bought a new suit when he went to the department store.
XXX(To the department store is a prepositional phrase that acts like an adverb and that tells where she went)

Noun Phrases

Noun Phrases are groups of words with a noun. A noun phrase can act as a subject, object, subject complement, or an object of a preposition.

The red brick house is my uncles.
XXX(The red brick house acts as a subject of thes sentence)

The professor is playing a smalll banjo.
XXX(A small banjo acts as the object of the sverb play)

She is a well know actress.
XXX(a well know actress is the subject complement)

The teacher the book out of the box.
XXX(the box is the object of the preposition out of)

 Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are multi-word verbs- usually a main verb followed by a preposition or adverb. Verb phrases should be thought of as one word verbs.

My car ran out of gas 2 miles from home.

Verbal Phrases 

A verbal is a verb form working as another part of speech. The verbal and the other words related to it are called verbal phrases. There are three types of verbal phrases- participial phrases, infinitive phrases, and gerund

Participial Phrases use the present or past participle form of a verb and function as adjectives.
XXXScared by the loud thunder, my dog hid under the bed.
XXX(Scared by the loud thunder describes the noun dog)

Walking slowly, we didn’t arrive at the campsite until dusk.
(Walking sloewly describes the pronoun we)

Gerund Phrases use the present participle form of a verb and function as a noun.
XXXEating candy every day will result in extra ponds fast.
XXX(Eating candy every day acts is the subject of the sentence)

Infinitive Phrases use the infinitive form of a verb and function as nouns, adjectives and adverbs.
XXXTo become extrtemely rich has always been a goal of mine.
XXX(To become extrtemely rich acts as a noun and the subject of the sentence)

The bosses decision to fire Sally was not well liked by the rest of the staff.
(To fire Sally acts as an adjective describing decision.)


For more information about phrases takes a look at

The Basics of English Grammar

Other links for Phrases
Types of Phrases
Definition of a Phrase
Function of Phrases

An explanation of the differnt kinds of phrases: prepositional, noun, verbal, phrasal andadverbial–