Sentence Sense home   part one index parts 2 part 4 part 4
blank   chapter #    

chapter 5.5 Embedded Thoughts: Recognizing Verbal Phrases

A verbal phrase is a verbal plus its completers and modifiers.

Like the verb it came from, a verbal may take a completer and modifiers.

Boiling* uses up more energy than frying* does. (verbals stand alone, without phrases)

{Boiling* eggs} uses up more energy than {frying* them} does. (verbals take completers, creating verbal phrases)

{Boiling* an egg in the winter} will heat your kitchen a bit. (verbal takes a completer and modifier, creating a verbal phrase)

An embedded verbal phrase functions as a unit, acting the way a single word might to play a single role in a larger sentence:
The water is wonderful. (noun subject, verb, completer)
{Swimming* in your pool} is wonderful. (verbal phrase subject, verb, completer)

I'm expecting friends. (subject, verb, noun completer)
I'm expecting {to see* my friends}. (subject, verb, verbal phrase completer)

Because a verbal comes from a verb, it behaves like a verb in several ways. It can take a completer and modifiers. It can also express time and imply action. But a verbal cannot be the verb of a sentence.

pencil Application 8 pencil Application 9  

Click on the ESL icon at left to visit "Infinitive and Gerund Completers" for help in choosing between these two verbals. Practice these forms with a teacher or tutor.

home chapter 3        

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7