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Hello dear, you’re welcome one’s again, I wanna use this opportunity to tell you that you are indeed in the right place to get this just follow the step by step simple explanation that we’d be laying here and I believe in no time you’d master the trick in this very big stuff thing in English language that really bothers your mind.

There are basically first five questions that had make you get the answer and it goes thus:

(1.) Does it have finite or Infinite verb?

(2.) After Checking (1) (The first point) is it a phrase 

(3.) If it’s a phrase what type of phrase 

(4.) After (1) (The first point) is it a Clause 

(5.) If clause what type of clause


Now let’s look at the above one by one, to get the gramatical name of a particular underline part of a sentence or just a sentence, you really have to consider this five steps, it works, although there are other means to identify Grammatical Names of sentences, but today we’d be using these five steps :

(1.) Does the sentence has a finite or Infinite verb? : then this brings us to the question of what is a finite verb, Traditionally, a finite verb is the form “to which number and person appertain”, in other words, those inflected for number and person. Verbs were originally said to be finite if their form limited the possible person and number of the subject. In an example like : “The boy that came here yesterday is my cousin

  • The finite verb here is “came” why? Because it’s a kind of verb that can change as in past tense and it could remain what it is in the sentence by this I mean the came could change form to come, that ability of it to change accord it to be Finite Verb, had it been it is a situation where such verb in such sentence cannot varies as in number, person, time (like the above) then it definitely means such word does not have a finite verb.
  • Imagine a sentence like (i) he has to come and another is (ii) I hope to see you. Considering from these two examples you’d see that to come in this situation will sound weird to you when you try to change the nature, by nature I mean change it to to came, likewise the other too hope to see will be very weird if you have a thing like hope to saw. Note : that this examples given will not change in person or number like Finite makes it an infinite verb. What should you know? You should know that for every words, they all depend on the usage of such word, be it you wanna have finite or infinite, check the underline word, then you’d know if it could change or not? If it sounds very weird or not? With this you can discover if it is finite or infinite.

(2.) After Checking the point (1) is it a phrase? This had bring us back to what is a phrase?a small group of words standing together as a conceptual unit, typically forming a component of a clause. Also, In syntax and grammar, a phrase is a group of words which act together as a grammatical unit. For instance, the English expression “the very happy squirrel” is a noun phrase which contains the adjective phrase “very happy”. Phrases can consist of a single word or a complete sentence. Now to simplify things.

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– A phrase could contain Infinite verb as opposed to finite (check the above in (1) to get this, for instance “He has to come” automatically became a phrase due to the absence of the finite verb that is always well common in clause.

– it’s most times group of words having all the word relate back to the main word in such sentence e.g ” The tall Man (all relating back to the noun Man)”, “on the table” (all relating back to the noun table), “in the morning”( all relating back to the noun morning), “good enough“, “Very quickly”

Some schoolars actually suppose a phrase to be a group of related words but which does not have a subject and a predicate. Having got this part, because all we need to establish is that is it a phrase? And the how to knowing it is checking if there is an element of infinite verb (An infinitive verb is essentially the base form of a verb with the word “to” in front of it. When you use an infinitive verb, the “to” is a part of the verb. It is not acting as a preposition in this case), once all this has been established, the next thing to know is what type of phrase are you working on, is it now phrase, verb phrase, prepositional phrase and so on.

(3.) If it is a Phrase, what type of phrase it is?? There are different types of Phrase and all had be mentioned so that one would know the exact type they are picking when one is faced with questions on GRAMATICAL NAME.

(a) The noun phrase

This is made up of a noun as the key word, along with one or more modifying words, e.g., the tall boy, my old friend, our English teacher, your book. The noun phrase performs all the functions of the noun i.e., as subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, prepositional complement, appositive, and noun pre-modifier.

(b) The verb phrase

The verb phrase is made up of a lexical verb with one or more auxiliary verbs, e.g., may, has done, is doing, may have done, may be doing, may have been doing. The verb phrase functions as the predicator in the sentence and expresses a wide range of meanings having to do with time and mood.

(c) The prepositional phrase

This is made up of a preposition and its complement or object, and any modifiers of that object, e.g., on the table, in the drawer, before the altar, in front of the class, after a very long speech.

A prepositional phrase is essentially a modifier. It functions either as an adjective or as an adverb. A prepositional phrase that, like an adjective, modifies a noun or pronoun is called an adjective phrase e.g., The old man in the garden is my grandfather.” (in the garden = adjective phrase modifying the noun man)

A prepositional phrase that is used like an adverb to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb is called an adverb phrase e.g., “The cat was sleeping under the table.” (under the table-adverb phrase of place modifying the verb phrase was sleeping)

(d) The adjective phrase

We have seen how a prepositional phrase can function as an adjective phrase. Other types of adjective phrases are made up of adjectives properly preceded or followed by one or two modifiers, e.g., very happy, quite comfortable, morally upright, academically sound, good enough, easy to please, hard to come by. The adjective phrase like adjectives, modifies nouns and pronouns.


(E) The adverb phrase

Apart from prepositional phrases performing adverbial functions, other adverb phrases a when an adverb modifies another adverb, e.g., quite often, very frequently, soon enough, rather awkwardly. Such adverb phrases mostly verbs. In the following sentences, give the modify former

grammatical name and the function of each of the underlined phrases. The first one has been done for you.

1. The house near the river was destroyed by

the storm.

i. Grammatical name: adjectival phrase

ii Function: modifies the noun “house

2. The interview was conducted in the assembly hall.

3. The main attraction at the dog show was a huge fierce-looking Alsatian.

4. Our plane touched down at eight o’clock. 5. We arrived almost too late for the concert.

(Some other phrase types you may wish to find out about are the infinitive phrase, the participial phrase the gerund phrase, and the appositive phrase. The first three are related to the verb phrase, while the last is related to the noun phrase.


(4.) After the (1) is it a Clause?? The first thing to be consider here is to see the meaning of Clause, it then follow that what is Clause? a unit of grammatical organization next below the sentence in rank and in traditional grammar said to consist of a subject and predicate. And also according to Wikipedia, a clause In language, a clause is a constituent that links a semantic predicand and a semantic predicate. A typical clause consists of a subject and a syntactic predicate, the latter typically a verb phrase, a verb with any objects and other modifiers. A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate. There are independent and dependent (or main and subordinate) clauses. An independent clause can stand by itself and make sense. But a dependent clause cannot make sense by itself, but needs the main clause to make it meaningful. Examples

Main Clause

  • We abandoned the search
  • Call the police at once

Subordinate Clause

  • as it was getting late
  • if you notice anything suspicious.

Note that the sentence can also begin with the subordinate clause:

  • If you notice anything suspicious, call thepolice at once.
  • As it was getting late, we abandoned the search.

As it is well established now that Main clause stands on its own and does not necessarily needs the subordinate clause to make sense, due to this Main Clause are standard word and they don’t belong to any grammatical name, but due to the incomplete form every subordinate clause use to take they all belong to one grammatical type or the other and the number of Grammatical clause we have inacalude :


(5.) If Clause? What type of Clause??


(a) The adjective clause

Also sometimes called a relative clause, this functions to modify a noun (just as an adjective does) or a pronoun. It is often introduced by any of the words who, whom, whose, which, that (and occasionally other words such as when, why, where), called relative pronouns, which are either the subject or object of the adjective clause. This relative pronoun may be omitted if it is not the subject of the adjective clause. Adjective clauses are classified as restrictive or defining (i.e., necessary for meaning) and non-restrictive or non-defining (i.e., unnecessary for meaning). If the adjective is restrictive, it has no commas, but if it is non restrictive, it is marked off by paired commas. Examples:

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1. The boy that came here yesterday is my cousin.

(The italicised is a restrictive adjective clause introduced by that and modifying the noun boy. It is “restrictive” because it is needed to identify the exact boy meant: it answers the question “which boy?”)

2. My sister Adenike, who lives in Surulere, is getting married.

(Non-restrictive adjective clause modifying the noun sister. Here, my sister is already known to the listener, so the adjective clause is not necessary to identify her but merely give additional information about her.)

3. This is the boy (whom) you wanted to see.

(Restrictive adjective clause modifying the noun boy. The relative pronoun whom can be dropped.)

You should now be able to answer the usual grammar question on adjective clauses. Consider the following:

The soldier who knew the area best led the search.


(1) What grammatical name is given to the underlined expression?

(ii) What is its function as it is used in the sentence?

Answers: it is an adjective clause and it modifies the noun soldier.


(B) The adverb clause

This usually modifies the verb (indicating time, place manner, cause, condition, degree, comparison, concession and so on), an adjective, another advert or the rest of the sentence in which it Adverb clauses are introduced by a wide range of subordinating conjunctions such as when, if, since, before, as, because, although, while, wherever after, unless, whether. Consider the following example, and the question and answer on it: occur.

They hunted him as a tiger hunts its prey


  • (i) What grammatical name is given to the underlined expression?
  • (ii) What is its function as it is used in the



  • (i) It is an adverb(ial) clause (of manner)
  • (ii) It modifies – or qualifies – the verb hunted.

(C.) The noun clause

This is a clause that can be used in any way that a noun may be used. Thus it can function as a subject, object, complement, or an appositive. The noun clause is usually introduced by that, but can also be introduced by what, where, who, whoever, whether, why, when and whatever. Example:

That he turned down the offer surprised everybody.


(1) What grammatical name is given to theunderlined expression?

(ii) What is its function as it is used in the sentence?


(i) It is a noun clause

(ii) It is the subject of the verb surprised.

Do not give the general answer “…subject of the sentence”. This is unacceptable to examiners because it is too broad and often inaccurate, and is easily resorted to as guesswork.)

Below are further examples of noun clauses with the function of each enclosed in brackets:

1. I know that you are a student. (direct object of the verb know)

2. The big question is how we can solve this problem. (complement of the subject the big question)


So With all that has been said, this had make it facile for anyone to know what word class a particular sentence falls. Have a nice and do subscribe to our news letter for more, if any questions you can drop them in the comment section.

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