Due to the unsteady motion of a plunging plate, forces acting on the body experience a phase difference with respect to the motion. These phase relations are investigated experimentally for a harmonically plunging plate within an amplitude range of 0.05 <= a/c <= 0.6, reduced frequency range of 0.78 < k < 7.06, and at a constant Reynolds number of 10,000. Both streamwise and cross-stream force components are found to have a phase lag following the motion; however, their variations are different. The phase lag of the force on the cross-stream direction increases as the amplitude increases. Drag-thrust transition has an influence on the streamwise force phase lags, which starts to increase when the thrust starts to be produced. Particle image velocimetry measurements are also performed to reveal the relations between vortex structures and force measurements. Leading edge vortex shedding characteristics are observed to be changing from drag occurring cases to thrust producing cases in parallel with the increment in phase lags.