A complete sentence must have a subject, a matching verb, and express a complete thought.
Phrase : A group of words that is missing either a subject, the matching verb, or both.
Examples: the ancient oak tree (missing a verb) hitting the window (missing a subject and verb) on a jet plane (missing a subject and verb)
Because a phrase is missing one of the two requirements for a complete sentence, it is considered a fragment. There are a variety of different types of phrases (e.g. prepositional phrase, adjective phrase, adverb phrase, verbal phrases, etc.), which we will look at later this year.
Clause : A group of related words that has both a subject and a verb that matches it
Independent Clauses : present complete ideas and can stand by themselves as sentences because they contain a subject and a verb that matches it Examples: I went to the movies. You washed the dishes.
Dependent Clauses : cannot stand by themselves as sentences (they depend on another clause to complete the thought) Example: After Stan went to the movies Since you have been so good
Even though a dependent clause contains a subject and a matching verb, it also has an additional word at the beginning of the clause that makes you need more information. These words are called subordinating conjunctions. The subordinate conjunction provides a necessary transition between the two ideas in the sentence.
List of common SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS used in English language: after although as because before even if even though if in order that once provided that rather than since so that than that though unless until when whenever where whereas wherever whether while why
PHRASE or CLAUSE? Is there a subject? NO= Phrase YES= Is there a complete verb? NO= Phrase YES=Does the verb express a complete thought? NO= Dependent Clause YES= Independent Clause