• A phrase is one or more words working together meaningfully.  (most people call a phrase two or more words)
  • Phrases have many grammatical functions in the clause. For example, in the sentence “They call this place their home.” The noun phrase ‘their home‘ is an object predicate.
  • There are five types of phrases:
    • Noun phrases have a noun, pronoun, nominal adjective (‘the elderly’) or a numeral as the ‘head’ (main word) which can be joined with modifiers, determiners, and complements.
    • A verb phrase consists of one or more auxiliaries plus the main ‘head‘ verb. For example, “has been used
    • Adverb phrases have an adverb as the ‘head’.  For example, “more frequently
    • Prepositional…
    • Adjective phrases.  For example: “far more attractive.”  Here ‘attractive’ is the head and has been pre-modified.
  • Phrases can be premodified and/or postmodified.  Here’s an example of a pre and post modified adverb: ‘very luckily for me’
  • Noun phrases can post be modified by a clause: ‘the house which we lived in
  • Phrases can contain one or more other phrases inside them.  For example:
  1. The name of the story = noun phrase with ‘name’ as the head noun.
  2. of the story = prepositional phrase
  3. the story = noun phrase
  • phrases can be extended with co-ordinating conjunctions or with apposition.

( LITTLE | NEXT | BUT ) TO NO + noun

We profile this prepositional construction at B1 because ‘no‘ can be used to pre-modify nouns at A2. However, it is usually found with extremely advanced phrases related to negative statements. A search in iWeb corpus for: to_II no _NN 1 TO NO AVAIL 26494 C2 unlisted in the EVP They tried to bring a case against her but to no avail. listen 2 TO …

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verb + WITH

Here are advanced examples of verbs + ‘WITH phrases‘: You hope for the best,  then make do with what you get. listen A man threatens you with a gun,  you break his neck,  we can’t call the police,  but it‘s nothing to do with me. listen DO WITH 796814 To find out which lexical verbs are most often followed by a ‘with PHRASE‘, we do a search in the iWeb corpus for: _VV with 1 WORK WITH 976989 A1 verb …

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lexical verb + possessive determiner + noun + TO prepositional phrase

C2 example: Our country owes its creation to a man  they declared insane. listen An iWeb search for: _VV _APPGE _NN to_II 1 MAKE YOUR WAY TO 9604 B2 Please make your way to the nearest exits. listen 2 MAKE THEIR WAY TO 6953 3 MADE THEIR WAY TO 6103 4 CHANGED ITS NAME TO 5283 B2 possessive determiner Facebook changed its name to Meta. But does that mean you should trust it? youtube 5 MADE ITS WAY TO 5135 …

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noun + OF

A search in iWeb corpus for: _NN of 1 PART OF 4885158 _VV part of 1 BECOME PART OF 45393 Adele has become part of the country’s psyche. listen 2 FORM PART OF 18038 When on duty, you will form part of the armed forces. listen 3 BECAME PART OF 16702 4 FORMS PART OF 13260 5 BECOMES PART OF 8361 6 CONSIDERED PART OF 7249 7 BECOMING …

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AT + possessive determiner + NOUN

A search in the iWeb corpus for: at _APPGE _NN 1 AT HIS HOME 25665 *Although this is basic grammar, it often reports the locations of crimes such as murder.  For example: A man has been shot dead  at his home  in Sydney’s eastern suburbs last night. listen   2 AT YOUR FINGERTIPS 24481 C2 What’s it like to have such power  at your fingertips? listen 3 AT YOUR DISPOSAL 17599 …

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article * CLASS

A search in iWeb corpus for: _A * CLASS 1 THE WORKING CLASS 20916 Public education is a way to improve and equalize educational opportunity, and a way to bring order and discipline to the working class. PELIC STUDENT: Chinese Male Level 5 Reading class 2 THE MIDDLE CLASS 20686 The Mirabal sisters and their husbands formed the June 14th movement along with many others from the middle class. TED 3 A WORLD CLASS 14222 (*this should probably be a hyphenated adjective) = A WORLD-CLASS + NOUN 4 THE FIRST …

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at face value

In the English Vocabulary Profile: at face value = C1 If you accept something at face value because of the way it first looks or seems, you do so without thinking carefully about it. A search for the top 10 collocations in COCA: 1 TAKE 232 For example: We cannot afford to take mythology at face value. listen 2 TAKEN …

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on the verge of

In the English Vocabulary Profile, be on the verge of sth/doing sth = C2 to be going to happen or to do something very soon Here are the top 20 collocations of ‘on the verge of’ in iWeb corpus: *Notice how negative the context is. 1 BEING 2334 Actually, you‘re on the verge of being suspended. listen 2 COLLAPSE …

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Here at EnglishGrammar.Pro, we are always looking for new resources that position language features on the CEFR scale.  Note that, unlike Cambridge which uses what students can produce, Oxford uses the receptive knowledge of students to allocate the levels.  One great resource is their phrase list. The Oxford Phrase List is a list of 750 …

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all the time

The phrase ‘all the time‘ is listed at A2 in the English Vocabulary Profile with the meaning ‘continuously‘. Rachel talks about you all the time. I ask them all the time, but they said I still can’t come home. Why do you have to talk to me like that all the time for? listen A search in COCA for collocates: 1 HAPPENS 541 This happens all the time. TED 2 WATCHING 63 3 SPENT 56 4 ANGRY 53 5 …

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