Four word groups and a phrase

We’re going to learn about four word groups:

  • Noun groups—representing things, including people, animals, objects, and concepts
  • Verb groups—representing actions and processes
  • Adjective groups—describing qualities of things
  • Adverb groups—describing qualities of actions and processes

And we’re going to learn about one type of phrase:

  • Prepositional phrases—which add all sorts of extra information about where, when, how, why, and so on

Simple examples

The ice-cream Noun group
Melted Verb group
Chocolate Adjective group
Slowly Adverb group
In the sun Prepositional phrase


Put them together

The chocolate ice-cream melted slowly in the sun.

More elaborate examples

Uncle Henry’s last meal Noun group
Is going to vanish Verb group
Classic French Adjective group
Finally, suddenly, ever Adverb group
Without a trace of its ever having existed Prepositional phrase


Put them together

Finally, Uncle Henry’s last classic French meal is going to suddenly vanish without a trace of its ever having existed.

With these five components you can explain just about anything happening in a simple sentence. Here are some examples. You'll notice almost everything in each sentence is one of the five components you've just seen.

Jack stomped up the steps and down the corridor towards our classroom.

He was mad.

He went straight to his desk, took out a piece of paper and started drawing.

In the dull light, fading through an endless afternoon, she found her way to the sledge depot.

She felt a bolt of cold fear strike at her, because he was so massive and so alien.

If you're reading carefully, you might notice some word groups embedded inside other word groups.

For example, an adjective group embedded inside a noun group:

  • An endless afternoon
  • An endless afternoon

Or a noun group inside a prepositional phrase:

  • To his desk
  • To his desk

Or a combination of both:

  • In the dull light
  • In the dull light

So there can be word groups within word groups! 🤯

You can see that everything in these sentences is part of one of the four word groups, or a prepositional phrase—except for the words ‘and’ and ‘because’. 

Which brings us to what these lessons don't cover!

Conjunctions, clauses, and complex sentences

In the word groups lessons, the most important words we don't cover are conjunctions. These are connecting words such as ‘and’, ‘because’, ‘so’, and so on.

These words are the gateway to more complex sentences, which we will cover in a different set of lessons.