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Related to Complex phrase: complex sentence


Grammatical phrases are groups of two or more words that work together to perform a single grammatical function in a sentence. Unlike clauses, phrases do not contain both a subject and a predicate (although they sometimes function as one or the other).
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1. Music a small group of notes forming a coherent unit of melody
2. (in choreography) a short sequence of dance movements



the basic unit of speech. Corresponding to the sentence as a basic unit of language, the phrase is a syntactic and phonetic entity with syntactic structure, semantic completeness, and intonational markers. Phrase boundaries are indicated by pauses and by specific intonational features that indicate the end of the phrase. For example, in Russian there is a lowering of tone on the final syllable of a phrase. Phrases are divided into syntagms, which in turn consist of phonetic words and syllables. The laws of the phrase’s sandhi, that is, of the phonetic boundaries of the phrase’s components, function within the phrase. An example is liaison in French—a type of consonant alternation.

The concept of the phrase is sometimes synonymous with that of the sentence. The term “phrase” is occasionally used to designate any phonetic and syntactic entity between two pauses.

References in periodicals archive ?
She knows over 1,000 words of sign language and has a working vocabulary of 500, which she uses in complex phrases.
Since he graduated from Harvard, Lin tells Crawford to use complex phrases, and corrects him for misspelling words.
The frontline horns offered something of a contrast, with trumpeter Barry Ries sometimes shaky in the high register, lacking clear articulation in the more complex phrases.

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