Difference Between Phrase and Sentence

Main Difference – Phrase vs. Sentence

Phrase and sentence are common structures in any language and are made up of a group of words. A phrase is a short or long group of words that does not convey a complete thought. A sentence is also a group of words, but it conveys a complete thought. This is the main difference between phrase and sentence.

What is a Phrase

A phrase is a group of words that does not convey a complete thought. As phrases do not express a complete idea, they can’t stand alone. They can only be used as parts of sentences. It lacks a or in some cases both. Therefore, it cannot form a predicate. In the English language, there are five main kinds of phrases. They are,

Noun Phrase: gives information about the noun

Examples: a cute baby, an old lady, many of the theories, a hot summer day, some teachers, etc.

Verb Phrase: gives more meaning to the verb

Examples: She has been eating, was walking, had to be hospitalized, singing a song etc.

Adjective Phrase: gives information about the adjective

Examples: very pretty, terribly long,  not very healthy, exquisite handmade

Adverb Phrase: gives information about the adverb.

Examples: slowly and surely, formerly, beautifully, etc.

Prepositional Phrase: gives information about a time, location or condition. A preposition always appears at the front of the phrase.

Examples: down the road, after a long time, beside the lake, on the table, etc.

What is a Sentence

A sentence refers to a group of words that expresses a complete thought. A sentence necessarily contains a subject and a verb. There are four types of sentences. They are as follows,

Declarative Sentence

Declarative sentences state information and facts. A declarative sentence ends with a full stop. This article is mainly written in declarative sentences.


The Child is sleeping on the floor.

Radium was discovered by Marie Curie.

The dog barks.                                

Imperative Sentence

Imperative sentences issue commands or orders or they can express wishes or desires. These sentences can contain a single word, or they can be lengthier.



Be Silent!

Turn left and go straight.                                                                                                                       

Interrogative Sentence

Interrogative sentences ask a question. They are easy to understand as they contain a question mark at the end. Example:  

Are you crazy?

Is it raining?

Did you go to school yesterday?                                                                                                                                          

Exclamatory Sentence

Exclamatory sentences express emotions or excitement. They end with exclamation marks.

I won the first place!

It’s a surprise!                                             

Sentences can be further classified according to their structures. A sentence can have a single clause or several clauses. Sentence structures are classified according to these clauses.

Simple Sentence – contains one independent clause.

Complex Sentence – contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

Compound Sentence – contains two or more independent clauses.

Compound-Complex Sentence – contains at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

Difference Between Phrase and Sentence


Phrase is a group of words that are arranged in a grammatical construction and acting as a unit in a sentence.

Sentence is a grammatical unit of one or more words that expresses an independent meaning.

Complete Thought

Phrase does not express a complete thought.

Sentence expresses a complete thought.

Subject and Predicate

Phrase does not contain both a subject and a predicate.

Sentence contains both subject and predicate.


Phrase does not give complete information about the subject or the predicate.

Sentence gives complete information about the subject or the predicate.


Phrase does not begin with a capital letter or end in punctuation marks.

Sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.Difference Between Phrase and Sentence

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