The terms group and phrase are used by different schools of linguistics to refer to units intermediate between a clause and a word. In the English curriculum, group/phrase is used to recognise these different usages. For example, the units enclosed in brackets in the following sentence are examples of a group/phrase: ‘(the carnival) (had made) (the two little girls with the red shirts) (very tired)’.

In the example, ‘the carnival’ and ‘the two little girls with the red shirts’ are called noun groups/phrases because they have a noun (‘carnival’ and ‘girls’) as their major element; similarly, ‘had made’ is a verb group/phrase and ‘very tired’ an adjective group/phrase.