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English Notes » Strategies for Finding Phrases

Strategies for Finding Phrases Strategies for Finding Phrases

Strategies for Finding and Identifying Phrases

7th and 8th Grade

 

1)       As always, first read the sentence.

 

2)       Look for the word to. If you find it, see if a verb comes immediately after it. If so, you’ve found an infinitive. To locate the entire phrase, find any complements and/or any modifying words or phrases (including prepositional phrases) which complete it. This phrase would be identified as an infinitive phrase.

 

3)       Look for words that end in –ing or –ed. (Note: It could also be the past participle form of an irregular verb.) If you find one of these words, determine if the word is used as a verb or not. If it’s a verb, then it’s not a phrase. If it’s NOT a verb, then you’ve found either a participle or a gerund. To locate the entire phrase, find any complements and/or any modifying words or phrases (including prepositional phrases) which complete it. Unfortunately, you have yet another step to complete. You need to determine if the word is used as the subject, direct object, predicate nominative, object of the preposition, or if it’s used as an adjective. To complete this step, do the following in the order given:

 

? See if there’s a preposition immediately before the phrase. If so, then the phrase is used as the OP and is therefore, a gerund phrase.

? Identify the verb and the subject. If the phrase is the subject, then it’s a gerund phrase.

? Using the subject and the verb, ask what? or whom? to see if the phrase is a predicate nominative or a direct object. If it’s one of these, then the phrase is a gerund phrase.

? Using the subject, direct object, and the verb ask to whom? for whom? to what? for what? to see if the phrase is an indirect object. If it is, then the phrase is a gerund phrase.

? If none of the above is true, then you have a participial phrase.

 

4)       Find any nouns in the sentence and see if there’s a comma after any of them. If so, there’s a chance that there’s an appositive phrase. Ask yourself if the group of words is renaming the noun that comes before it. Remember that an appositive phrase will include a noun plus any modifying words.

 

5)       Now look for any prepositions. Remember, though, that if a prepositional phrase is part of another type of phrase then you won’t need to identify it separately. A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun. To identify it as an adjective or adverb phrase, review the following information:

 

? If the prepositional phrase is after a verb, then it’s an adverb phrase.

? If the prepositional phrase is after an adjective, then it’s an adverb phrase.

? If the prepositional phrase is after an adverb, then it’s an adverb phrase.

? If the prepositional phrase is at the beginning of a sentence, then it’s an adverb phrase.

? If the prepositional phrase is after a noun or a pronoun, then it could be either adjective or adverb. You will have to read closely and see if it’s describing the noun it follows or if it’s describing the verb. If it’s describing the noun, it’ll tell you which one, what kind, how many, or how much? If it’s describing the verb, it’ll tell you how, where, or when?

 

 

 

 







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