If you want to understand what a verb phrase is, you need to understand verbs and phrases first. Phrases will be explained, as well as sentence structure, and examples will be offered for all of them.
A sentence is a group of words that has a subject and a predicate, which is a verb or verb phrase. It expresses a complete thought; so therefore, it is called an independent clause. The subject is the star of the sentence, what or who the sentence is about. It can be a noun or a pronoun. The predicate is the action, or what the subject is doing. It can also tell the subject’s state of being. It contains a verb, verb phrase, or linking verb. Simple sentence examples are: Sally ran. Jose slept.
Most verbs show action, like run, taste, fly, jump, crawl, or hit. Verbs link a word to the subject and are called linking verbs. These do not refer to an action, they express a state of being, like am, are, was, were, has been, etc. Other linking verbs are: seem, appear, become, taste, stay, and feel. Some verbs can pull double duty, and be active or linking depending on their use. Here is an example:
A phrase is a group of words that have a function in a sentence, but do not have a subject and verb. If it had a subject and a verb, it would be a clause. Phrases can function in the sentence like nouns, adverbs, or adjectives. Four of the main kinds of phrases are infinitive, participle, prepositional, and gerund. Here are definitions and examples.
A verb phrase can be the predicate of a sentence or a clause. In this case, there will usually be a helping verb in addition to the verb. Here are some examples of a verb phrase as a predicate:
A verb phrase can also be a phrase that functions as an adverb or adjective that has a verb and its complements, objects, or modifiers. Some examples are: