Groups/Phrase in English (with Definition, Types and Functions)

Groups/Phrase in English (with Definition, Types and Functions)

The Simple Sentence has a structural pattern and constituents elements that make it up. See The English Clause. Apart from these syntactic elements in a simple sentence, there are also groups or phrases that operate within the simple sentence. But it is pertinent to understand what a group or phrase is in English. This is the essence of this post titled: Groups/Phrase in English (with Definition, Types and Functions). Let us examine the groups in English.

The English Rankscale

The English Rankscale consists of five basic elements that we can arrange from the largest to the smallest or from the smallest to the largest and the English Rankscale comprises the following: sentence, clause, group/phrase, word, and morpheme.  The sentence is the largest grammatical unit while the morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in English.

Groups/Phrase in English (with Definition, Types and Functions)

Both phrase and group can be used interchangeably. The traditional grammarians call it ‘phrase’, while the modern or structural grammarians, especially, the Systemic Functional grammarians call it ‘group’.

What is a Group/Phrase?

A group, therefore, is any combination of words that does not contain a finite verb and has a head. A headword is an obligatory or indispensable word in a group. Other words in a group hang on the headword. You need to know that Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, etc. are lexical words and every lexical word has a phrase or group that corresponds to it. See Parts of Speech. Every group bears the nomenclature of the lexical word that serves as its head.

Types of Groups in English

Based on the description of lexical words above, we have different types of groups in English. These are:

  1. Nominal Group
  2. Verbal Group
  3. Adjectival group (embedded under nominal group. See Adjectival clause).
  4. Adverbial Group
  5. Prepositional Group

I have put together expository posts on each of these groups that constitute the structure of the simple sentence. They are just a click away!

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