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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Grammar Handbook: Verbals and Verb Phrases

Verbals are verb forms which act as another part of speech in a sentence (i.e. as adjectives, nouns, and adverbs).

Verbal phrases are verbals and any of the verb form's modifiers, objects, or complements. The three types of verbal phrases are participial, gerund, and infinitive phrases.

Participial Phrases

Participial Phrases are present participles or past participles and any modifiers, objects, or complements. Participial phrases contain verbs which act as adjectives in a sentence.


Gerund Phrases

Gerund Phrases contain verbs ending in -ing and any modifiers, objects, or complements. Gerund phrases act as nouns in a sentence. They can act as the subject or object of a verb, as a predicate nominative, and as the object of a preposition.


Infinitive Phrases

Infinitive Phrases contain verbals consisting of "to" followed by a verb and any modifiers, objects, or complements. Infinitive phrases usually act as nouns, but they can also act as adjectives and adverbs.