A phrase whose Head word is a verb, called the main verb. The Head can occur alone or together with one or more auxiliary verbs.

Note: Verb phrases are not defined in the National Curriculum glossary. But the definition above, of a phrase consisting of a main verb with optional auxiliary verbs, is not inconsistent with the National Curriculum's definition of a clause.

The National Curriculum defines a clause as "a special type of phrase whose head is a verb". Provided we understand that this head may be more than one verb, i.e. a verb phrase, the definition is sound. A clause might contain other elements, such as a Subject or Object, whereas the verb phrase consists only of verbs.

See also clause.


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