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Phrase

The main difference between phrase and clause is that a phrase is a constituent which can be
identified on the basis of the world class membership of at least one of its constituent word,
whereas a clase is identifiable on the basis of the relations holding among its immediate
constituents.
The following phrases can be distinguished: noun phrase (NP), adjective phrase (AdjP),
adverb phrase (AdvP), verb phrase (VP), and prepositional phrase (PrepP). A phrase can be
identified on the basis of the world class membership of its most important constituent; thus a
noun phrase is a phrase which has a noun as its most important constituent, an adjective
phrase is a phrase whose principal element is an adjective, and an adverb phrase is a phrase
whose principal constituent is an adverb.
Source:
Aarts, Flor & Aarts, Jan. 1982. English Syntactic Structures: Functions and Categories in
Sentence Analysis. Oxford: Pergamon Press.