What Is The Difference Between Idioms And Phrases?

The difference between Idioms and Phrases is that Idiom is a group of words that do not relate to the meaning of the individual words, but a phrase is a group of words, which is represented by the context and contrast of a clause or a sentence. Idioms and Phrases are groups of words used in speech sarcastically. These patterns of languages are being used since ancient times. Here, we will talk about What is an Idiom? What is Phrase in English? And, What are the differences between Idioms and Phrases? The topic is a bit challenging for second-language learners. You will learn the Idioms and Phrases with Sentences. We hope that all candidates of various competitive exams like SSC CGL, SSC CHSl, State PSC, Banking exams like IBPS, will be helpful.

Let’s learn the difference between idioms and phrases with examples 

What is Idiom?

An idiom is a commonly used group of words that do not relate to the meaning of the individual words, used in it.

An idiom is mostly classified as figurative language. In figurative language, words are used unusually or imaginatively, which includes metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, euphemisms, and pun. Idioms are used to quote a hard figurative expression easily. Idiomatic expression is used in a sentence to add dynamism & metaphorical features in writing. Here are some idiomatic expressions meaning.

  • For example: Let’s paint the town red.

If we try to understand the underlined words individually, then the meaning stands as Paint= to colour; the town= the urban area; red is a colour.

So, “Let’s paint the town red.” literally means ‘To colour the urban area with red colour’, which is wrong in meaning as an idiom.

But, it means “Let’s have a good time.

Paint the town red” is an idiom, which means ‘To have a good time’.

Idioms can have different genres based on different sources:

Sports idioms – hit the ground running

Rain idioms – cats and dogs

Military idioms – bite the bullet

Animal idioms – be the ugly duckling, a snake in the grass

Idioms are of 7 types in the English language:

Pure Idiom: The original meaning of a pure idiom is lost to the extent.

It’s raining cats and dogs.

Binomial Idiom: This idiom has two parts, working together or in contrast in an expression.

The Judge comments in black and white.

Partial Idiom: This type of idiom contains two parts: a literal part and a non-literal part.

Change is as good as rest.

Prepositional Idiom: Prepositional idioms contain verbs with an adverb or an appropriate preposition.

Jack and Rose agreed to see the movie on Sunday.

Proverb: Proverbs provide universal truths or sage advice passed on from generation to generation.

For example, No pain, no gain.

Euphemism: Euphemisms expresses a harsh message in a soft tone.

For example, Mr Ojha is passed away.

Cliché: A cliché is a word or a group of words that get repeated often.

For example, Don’t get your knickers in a twist.

Types of Idioms and Phrase
Idiom vs Phrase: Types of Idioms and Phrase

This diagram would be helpful to depict the idioms and phrases difference through the types of both.

What is a Phrase?

A phrase is a commonly used group of words without any subject and verb, being represented as a single grammatical unit as a part of speech in a clause or a sentence. It is represented by the context and contrast of a clause or a sentence. 

For example, Monday became a cool, wet afternoon.

Here, ‘cool, wet afternoon’ marks the afternoon having cold rainy weather. The phrase indicates the literal meaning in the sentence.

There are different types of phrases based on the positions in a sentence or the structure of a sentence. These phrases act depending on the position in a sentence. They can be considered as below:

Noun Phrase – A noun phrase includes a person or a place or a thing in a small group of words.

For example, Narendra lives in the blue house.

Verb Phrase – This type of phrase includes a verb as a direct or an indirect object. Verb phrases can be the predicate of a sentence.

For example, The ship sailed across the ocean.

Adjective Phrase – An adjective phrase is a phrase that describes the noun.

For example, Ravi took his clever, bouncy dog Denver for a walk.

Prepositional Phrase – These types of phrases are included in a sentence, followed by a preposition.

For example – The book on the table belongs to Barbara. 

Participial Phrase – A participle phrase starts with a past participle or present participle followed by its corresponding subject or object. Sometimes, this phrase can also be used as an adjective.

For example, Realising the situation, the police decided to fire teargas.

Conjunctional Phrase – This phrase is used as a conjunction.

For example, Every student has to work hard so that they can perform well.

Gerund Phrase – A gerund phrase may look like a participle phrase but it serves as a noun in a sentence and not as an adjective.

For example, Eating cold drinks in the winter can be a messy experience.

Infinitive Phrase – An infinitive phrase has an infinitive nature associated with the phrase.

For example: Let me show you the best way to break the door quickly.

Through the above examples, you will be able to know what is idioms and phrases & phrases and idioms meaning. After developing knowledge on this topic, it is recommended to practice writing sentences using idioms and phrases. 


Difference Between Idioms and Phrases

The difference between idioms and phrase
The difference between idioms and phrase


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