Groupe de mots

French Phrase

A phrase (un groupe de mots) is a group of words that form a meaningful unit within a clause. It doesn't have much meaning on its own without other phrases surrounding it.

Note: A "phrase" is not the same as une phrase, which is the French translation of sentence

There are several different types of phrases:

  • Noun phrase (groupe nominal) - built around a noun: 
    • Un grand vase de roses était sur la table. - A big vase of roses was on the table.

  • Verb phrase (groupe verbal) - the verbal part of a clause:
    • Nous allons visiter Madrid en avril. - We are going to visit Madrid in April.

  • Adjectival phrase (groupe adjectival) - built around an adjective:
    • Je suis arrivé à la gare, heureux de la revoir. - I arrived at the station, happy to see it again.

  • Adverbial phrase (groupe adverbial) - built around an adverb:
    • Notre entreprise doit se redresser le plus vite possible. - Our company must recover as quickly as possible.

  • Prepositional phrase (groupe prépositionnel) - a preposition introduces one of the other types of phrase:
    • Le chat s'est assis sur le paillasson. - The cat sat on the mat.
      Sur le paillasson is a prepositional noun phrase (un groupe nominal prépositionnel).

 
Note that in English, a "phrase" is often a group of words that have a particular meaning when used together, for example: garder un œil sur (to keep an eye on). This type of phrase is more correctly known as an "idiom" or "idiomatic expression" (un idiotisme or une expression idiomatique).

Clever stuff underway!