Background: The closure positive shift (CPS) event related potential (ERP) is commonly used as a neural measure of phrase boundary perception in speech. The present study investigated whether the CPS was elicited by acoustic cues at phrase boundaries in English. ERPs were recorded when participants listened passively to sentences with either early or late phrase boundaries. Results: The closure positive shift (CPS) ERP was elicited at both early and late phrase boundaries. However, the latency, amplitude, and scalp distribution of these passive CPS ERPs in English sentences differed to active CPS ERPs measured in non-English sentences in previous studies. Conclusions: These results show that acoustic cues at the phrase boundaries in English are sufficient to elicit the CPS, and suggest that different processes might be involved in the generation of the CPS in active and passive conditions.