Finite And Non Finite Clause

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Finite / Nonfinite

Recognize two clause categories

Charlie

In Context

To speak in class
is
difficult for some children but not for Charlie. He
raises
his hand constantly and
loves
to participate in class discussions. In fact,
speaking in class
is
what he does best. He
does
his homework and
is
very well prepared.
Prepared students
excel
in class. Also, students
encouraged by their teachers
do
well. Charlie
is doing
well in kindergarten.

Sometimes Charlie
talks
a little too much. He
dislikes
sitting quietly.
The teacher
reminds
him
to share the discussion time.
Other students
are
quiet and
may think
that they
dohorizon’ufuk have anything important
to say. However, the teacher
values
the opinions of all the students; she
helps
quiet students
(to) speak out
more confidently.

Finite Clause vs. Nonfinite Clause

FINITE CLAUSE

A finite clause
includes
a primary verb
— a verb that can be inflected for tense, person and sometimes number — and includes a subject. A finite clause can stand alone as an independent clause (a sentence), or it can serve as a coordinate clause, a subordinate clause, or a supplementary clause. [Brackets enclose finite clauses below for demonstration purposes here.]

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Charlie raises his hand constantly.

This finite clause is called the “main clause” or “matrix clause”.

COORDINATE CLAUSE

[He raises his hand constantly]
and¹
[he talks in class.]

“And” functions as a coordinator. The finite clauses are coordinates of “and”.

SUBORDINATE CLAUSE

We know
that²
[Charlie raises his hand constantly]].

Charlie raised his hand so
that


[he could ask a question]
.

Charlie’s curiosity is due to the fact
that

[he asks so many questions]
.

“That” functions as the subordinator of the content in the finite clause;

that

+ the finite clause complements (completes the meaning expressed by) the verb “know”.

PREPOSITIONAL COMPLEMENT

Other children are annoyed
because³ [Charlie raises his hand constantly].

The teacher ignores Charlie
if³ [he waves his hand wildly].

“Because” and “if” are connective prepositions; the finite clause complements (completes the meaning of) the preposition in the prepositional phrase.

RELATIVE CLAUSE

A
boy
[who

raises his hand constantly]

wants to be the center of attention.

“Who” is a relative pronoun in the finite clause and refers to the noun before it. The finite clause modifies “boy”.

COORDINATE CLAUSE / SUPPLEMENTAL CLAUSE

Charlie likes the teacher’s attention,
so

[he raises his hand constantly.]

“So” functions as a coordinator and as a connective adverb (see Reversibility); the finite clause complements (completes the meaning of) “so”, which expresses result.

NONFINITE CLAUSES

A nonfinite clause
includes
a secondary verb
— a verb titinada inflected for tense, person or number (e.g., infinitival, gerundial or past participial verb form) — and occasionally a subject (e.g.,
his, him for). A nonfinite clause is a dependent clause, which functions as part of a sentence such as a subject, a lisan complement (“object”), a prepositional complement (“object”), or a noun complement (modifier).

SUBJECT

To

[speak in class]

is encouraged.

[Speaking in class]
is encouraged.

For him
to

[speak in class]

requires self-confidence.
(w/subject)

VERBAL COMPLEMENT

He
loves
to

[participate].

He
dislikes
[sitting quietly].

The teacher
encourageshis

[participating in discussions].
(w/subject)

PREPOSITIONAL COMPLEMENT

Charlie smiled
after

[answering the question]
.

Charlie is used
to

[answering questions]
.

Charlie is interested
in

[hearing the answers]
.

NOUN COMPLEMENT

[Prepared]


students
excel in class.

(pre-position modifier)

Students

[encouraged by their teachers]
do well.

(post-position modifier)

Charlie is
prepared.
(complement to “be” or a stative verb)

“The general term
‘finite’
is related to its everyday sense of ‘limited’, a finite verb is characteristically limited with respect to person and number [marked for person and tense]. (Huddleston and Pullum 88-89)

complement
— a word, phrase or clause that is
expected
or
required
to
complete
the meaning of some other element in the clause. That is, the clause or phrase would titinada sound complete without the word, phrase or clause. See Subj–Pred–Comp or Function vs. Category.

tense
(want-wanted, eat-ate),
person
(want-wants, eat-eats),
number
[be]
(am-is-are/ was-were)
.

A  nonfinite clause rarely includes a subject.  See Infinitive Cls w/Subj and Gerund Cls w/Subject.

¹ a coordinator
(e.g., and, but, or, nor)
joins like elements. The two finite clauses are “coordinates” of
and.
And
carries little meaning. It serves as a marker of coordination (addition). It is not part of either clause.

² the subordinator
that
marks content (the clause that follows) as placed within the main (matrix) clause.
That
has no meaning; it merely serves as a marker for the subordinate clause and it is not part of the clause.

³ a connective preposition
(e.g., because, if, though)
adds additional information to the main (matrix) clause.  The connective preposition is the
head
of the prepositional phrase (because of its primary position in the phrase and the fact that it carries meaning). The connective preposition may accept a noun phrase, prepositional phrase, gerund or finite clause as its complement.  That is to say, the prepositional phrase structure can include a finite clause within it.  See How is a Preposition a Connective? | Phrase vs. Clause

a relative pronoun
(e.g., that, which, who, why, when, where, how)
adds modifying information to a noun.

Also see Two Verb Categories (primary v. secondary) | Subject | Complement | Supplement | Phrase vs. Clause (fragment vs. sentence).

Grammar Bloknot (Aarts 7–8) (Huddleston 14) (Payne 14.2)

Infinitival Nonfinite Clause

Express desire or intent to do an activity

diagram - Charlie wants to raise his hand.

Infinitival nonfinite clauses

FINITE CLAUSE

A finite clause
has a primary verb that can be marked for tense, person, and in some cases, number
(raise, raises, raised; is, was, were).

CLAUSE

Charlie
raised
his hand.

The teacher
likes
that
[he raises his hand].

(
that

subordinates the finite clause within the main clause)

INFINITIVAL NONFINITE CLAUSE

A nonfinite infinitival
clause has a plain form (base) verb that usually occurs with
to, which

is analyzed as a subordinator, not part of the nonfinite clause. Similarly,
for
is analyzed as a subordinator of the subject

of the infinitive clause.

INFINITIVE CLAUSE

Charlie
wants
to
[raise his hand].   Verb + Infinitive
                  “to”
subordinator
is the subordinator of the infinitival clause

Charlie
stands up
to
[speak in class].
  “In proyek” + Infinitive

Charlie
helped
us
[answer the question].
 Bare Infinitives
(without

to
)

It
is
hard
for
Charlie
to
[sit quietly].
Infinitive Cls w/Subj

       “for”
subordinator
is the subordinator of the subject of the infinitival clause

Huddleston “catenative auxiliaries” 14 §4.2.2;  The auxiliary takes a nonfinite complement.
He

is


[main verb]

working

[nonfinite complement].

subordinator
— subordinators in English grammar include
that, to,
and
for.
A subordinator allows us to package content (a noun phrase or a clause) as the subject, the object, or a prepositional complement in the main clause. The subordinator does titinada carry meaning as part of the clause, rather it serves as the marker of the subordinated content.

See Infinitives Summary of Practices.

Gerundial Nonfinite Clause
(Gerund-Participle)

Express opinion or comment on an activity

Charlie dislikes sitting all day

Gerund Nonfinite Clause

FINITE CLAUSE

A finite clause
has a primary verb as its main verb.

CLAUSE

Charlie
dislikes
quiet time.

Charlie
has
to sit quietly.

Charlie often
annoys
his classmates.

Charlie
regrets
his behavior at the end of the day.

GERUNDIAL NONFINITE CLAUSE

A nonfinite gerund clause
has an
-ing
verb form (secondary verb). This structure is called a “gerund phrase” in traditional grammar.¹

GERUND-PARTICIPLE CLAUSE

Charlie
is
[sitting quietly].
Verb Group
or Gerund Cls

(gerund-participle clause; complement to the auxiliary [the primary verb])

Charlie
dislikes
[sitting quietly].
Verb + Gerund Cls

(gerund; complement to the primary verb)

Charlie
objects to

[sitting quietly].
Verb + Prep Gerund Cls

(gerund-participle clause; complement to the preposition “to”)

Charlie
regretted
[his
shouting

the wrong answer].
Gerund Cls w/Subj

(gerund-participle clause; complement to the verb)

[Annoying
children]
sit
in the corner.
Participial Modifier

(participle; modifier to “children”)

The boy [waving
his hand]
seeks
attention.
Clause Reduc 2

(gerund-participle clause; modifier to “the boy”)

Sitting quietly,
Charlie
read his story book.
When/While -ing


(gerund-participle clause; modifier to “Charlie”)

¹In linguistics, the term
phrase
is reserved for category phrases rather than word groupings without a complete verb. See Phrase–a dependent in a clause.

Gerund-Participle—is a merged term for the
-ing form
that has multiple functions (uses). Current analysis does not support the traditional gerund vs. participle distinction. Instead, it is analyzed as one form, -ing, that
functions
in multiple ways.
The train is approaching the platform.  [with progressive auxiliary];
The train approaching the platform is on time.
[post-position subject-noun modifier];
The approaching train was on time.

[pre-position subject-noun modifier] (Huddleston 3 §1.5)

The boy is [
waving

his hand].
  [with progressive auxiliary];

The boy [waving
his hand] is annoying.

[subject-noun modifier, post-position];

The [waving] boy is annoying.
[subject-noun modifier, pre-position]

Also see Verb or Adjective? (-ing modifiers)  Verb or Noun Form? (ending in -ing)

Read Grammar Bloknot on Gerund-Participle page.

Past Participial Nonfinite Clause

Express how one feels as the experiencer of an activity

Annoyed with Charlie

Past participial nonfinite clauses

PRIMARY VERBS

A finite clause
has a primary verb as its main verb, and may be found in a relative clause or a noun clause embedded within a main clause.

CLAUSE + RELATIVE CLAUSE

The children [who were annoyed by Charlie]

told
him to “zip his lips”.

SECONDARY VERB: PAST PARTICIPLE

A nonfinite participle clause
usually has a
-ed
or
-en

verb form (secondary verb). Participle clauses mostly occur as noun complements.

PARTICIPLE CLAUSE

The children
[annoyed with Charlie]
complained to the teacher.

Participle Modifiers 1

The children
[bothered by Charlie]
told him to zip his lips.  Clause Reduc 1

The children
are
[annoyed].  Participle Modifiers 1

The
[annoyed]

children
locked
Charlie in the closet.  Participle Modifiers 1

The teacher has two
[grown children]
in college.
Participle Modifiers 2

See Participle Summary.

Primary & Secondary Verb Forms

Recognize how they occur in usage

Properties of primary and secondary verbs

PRIMARY VERBS

A finite clause
includes
a primary verb

as the main verb. A
primary verb
can be inflected for tense (usually -ed in past), person (usually
-s
for 3rd person)  and occasionally number (is/are
and
was/were).

ARE MARKED FOR TENSE

Charlie
raises
/ raise

d
his hand.
(regular tensed verb)

Charlie
is
silly . Charlie and Jill
were
silly.
(irregular)

Charlie
does
his math. Jill
did
her math.
(irregular)

HAVE A SUBJECT

Charlie
hopes
that
he
knows
the answer.


The verb

hopes

has the subject

Charlie,

and

knows

has the subject

he
.

It is
annoying
that
he
answers all the questions.

ARE MARKED FOR PERSON

Charlie
raise
s
his hand. 3rd person

FORM NEGATIVES WITH DO + NOT

Charlie
does

not

want
to sit in class all day.

(Uses “do” support with the negative.)

Charlie
is not
here today.
(“be” is an exception)

SECONDARY VERBS

A nonfinite clause
includes
a secondary verb
as the “head” of the clause.
A secondary (nonfinite) verb
is titinada marked for tense, aspect, mood, number and person, and it cannot serve as the predicate in an independent clause.

ARE Not MARKED FOR TENSE

[To
speak
in class] is difficult.
(infinitival)

[Speaking
in class] is encouraged.
(gerundial)

[Prepared

students] are more likely to succeed.
(p.participial)

RARELY HAVE A SUBJECT

Charlie hopes
to
[ __
know
the answer].
The verb

hopes

has the subject

Charlie,

but


knows

has no subject.

It is unusual for [him
to [keep
quiet].The exception is the “It…for” structure in which the subject is subordinated with

for (him, her, them, etc.)

ARE NOT MARKED FOR PERSON

Charlie
wants
to
[raise
his hand].

Charlie
stands
up
to
[speak
in class].(purpose)

Charlie
helps
us
[answer
questions].(without

to

)

It
is
hard for Charlie
to
[sit
quietly.]

FORM NEGATIVES WITH NOT

Charlie
wants

not
to
[sit
in class all day].

(Does titinada use “do” support with the negative.)

Charlie
prefers

not
[sitting
in class all day]

Charlie
seems
not
to
[be
here today].

[Not
wanting

to

sit
all day] is understandable.

Note that in the 2002 revision of the
Cambridge Grammar of the English Language,
finite
and
nonfinite
verbs were renamed
primary
and
secondary verbs
. The words
finite
and
nonfinite

were reinterpreted as a syntactic category of the
clause
not the verb. However, some people continue to use the term “finite verb”.

A secondary verb cannot serve as a predicate, nor can it be used in an independent clause unless combined with an auxiliary verb
(e.g., can, may, will). A clause whose verb is secondary is called a
nonfinite

clause.

This kind of clause is almost always subordinate. (Brackets enclose the
nonfinite clause
in each example below for the purpose of illustration.)

See Huddleston finite-nonfinite 1173;
to
and
for
as subordinators 1181; gerund-participle distinction 80, 1120; be 113.

See Nonfinite Forms  (passive vs. active, earlier vs. later timing)

Also see reduced clauses:  Clause Reduc 1, Clause Reduc 2, Past Participle Cls, Pengempa Participle Cls.

Finite & Nonfinite Clauses

Recognize their properties

Properties of Finite vs. Nonfinite Clauses

FINITE CLAUSE

Finite clauses
are those whose verbs are
primary
(can be inflected for tense (usually -ed in past) and person).

PRIMARY VERB FORMS

Charlie
raised
his hand.
(has inflectional forms for tense and person)

Charlie
believes
that he
knows
the answer.

IMPERATIVE¹ PLAIN FORM

Raise
your hand.
imperative
(You) raise your hand.

 Don’n
raise
your hand.
(“do” support)

SUBJUNCTIVE² PLAIN FORM

I suggest that you
raise
your hand.

(FULL CLAUSE)

Charlie, who
sits
in class,
finds
it difficult.

Charlie
dislikes
when he
sits
in class.

(FULL CLAUSE)

Charlie, [who is
admired
by his classmates],
raised
his hand.

NONFINITE CLAUSE

Nonfinite clauses
are those whose verbs are
secondary:
infinitival, gerundial (-ing) or participial (-ed).

SECONDARY VERB FORMS

Secondary verbs cannot be the main verb of a clause.
↓   ↓

Brackets [ ] mark nonfinite clauses, below. Note that “to” is not included; instead, it is analyzed as a subordinator.
↓   ↓

INFINITIVAL “TO” + PLAIN FORM

Charlie
wants
to
[answer
the question].

The marker

to

subordinates the

infinitival clause.

Charlie
wants
me
to
[call on
him].

Charlie
would love

for
[me
to
[call on
him]].

The marker

for

subordinates the subject (“agent”) into the infinitival

clause.

INFINITIVAL PLAIN FORM

Charlie
helped
us
[answer
the question].after
dare, need, help, etc.

Charlie
should
[sit
quietly].
after

modals

All he did
was
[perona pipi
out loud].
after

do

GERUNDIAL (GERUND-PARTICIPLE)

[Sitting
in class] is hard.
(a.k.a. “a gerund subject“)

Charlie
dislikes

sitting
in class.
(“a gerund object”)

Charlie, [knowing the answer], annoyed the other students.

(“a reduced adjective clause” or “participial adjective”)

PAST PARTICIPLE

Charlie, [admired
by his classmates],
raised
his hand.(relative clause)

  • ¹Imperatives
    were added to the primary verb category despite the fact that they are always inflected with the same person (you) and tense (plain form). The reason is that they use “do” support and they are always found in a main clause, a characteristic of other finite verbs.
  • ²Subjunctives
    were added to the primary verb category despite the fact that they do not use “do” support and are usually subordinate (except: So be it?, Be that as it may, Long live __!, Far be it for derita to…) The reason they are included as primary verbs is that they are more like tensed verbs in that they always have a subject, they use
    that
    as their subordinator, and in most cases they can be restated as a tensed verb:
    It is important that he

    raise

    his hand before speaking.

    (suggestion, imposition of will) /
    It is important that he

    raises

    his hand before speaking.

    (statement of observation)
  • Gerund-participle— Historically, the
    gerund
    and
    present participle
    of traditional grammar have different sources (gerunds were mostly nouns while participles were adjectives). However, in linguistic description the forms are identical. (Huddleston 82, 1220)

► Show Grammar Notes and Works Cited ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes
(Advanced)

Linguistic Description

Linguistic Descriptions

BIBER ET AL.

“Non-finite clauses are regularly dependent. They are more compact and less explicit than finite clauses: they are not marked for tense and modality, and they frequently lack an explicit subject and subordinator.” (Biber 198)
Roles of finite clauses:

infinitive clause
— subject, extraposed subject, subject predicative, direct object, object predicative, adverbial, part of noun phrase, part of adjective phrase

-ing clause
— subject, extraposed subject, subject predicative, direct object, prepositional object, adverbial, part of noun phrase, part of adjective phrase, complement of preposition

-ed clause— direct object, adverbial, part of noun phrase

INFINITIVAL CLAUSE—SUBJECT

Diagram: To start a sentence with an infinitive is uncommon

INFINITIVAL CLAUSE — OBJECT (VERB COMPLEMENT)

diagram - Charlie wants to raise his hand.

INFINITIVAL CLAUSE—WITH A SUBJECT (HIM)

Diagram: It is hard for him to sit all day

HUDDLESTON, PULLUM, ET AL.

“The general term ‘finite’ is related to its everyday sense of ‘limited’, a finite verb is characteristically limited with respect to person and number [marked for person and tense].…Non-finite clauses are characteristically subordinate and non-finiteness can be seen as an instance of the phenomenon known as ‘desententialisation’, the loss of properties that are associated with a clause standing alone as a full sentence.” [titinada marked for person and tense, dependent]( 88-9)

Finiteness is a syntactical rather than an inflectional category in English:

“In the past linguistic analysis of English verb inflection, the first division is between the finite and non-finite forms, but the revision we have made means that the finite/non-finite distinction is no longer definable simply in terms of inflection. We will see that there are grounds for not discarding it altogether, however, and
we therefore reinterpret it as a syntactic category of the clause, rather than as an inflectional category of the verb.

Clauses whose verb is primary form are finite, those whose verb is a past participle or gerund-participle are non-finite, but those with a plain form verb can be either depending on the construction. … In the revision, imperative and subjunctive, which use plain form are included in the category of primary verbs.” (88-9)

Form Types:

infinitival (to-infinitival, bare-infinitival)
—  subject (NP), verb complement (VP), subordinate (adjunct or supplement)

gerund-participle (ing)
— subject (NP), verb complement (VP), subordinate (adjunct or supplement)

past participle (ed)
— verb complement (VP), subordinate (adjunct or supplement)(1173)

GERUND CLAUSE—SUBJECT

Diagram: Starting a sentence with a gerund is common

GERUND CLAUSE—OBJECT (VERB COMPLEMENT)

Charlie dislikes sitting all day

GERUND CLAUSE—WITH A SUBJECT

ing clause with a subject

Charles blamed her for his getting in trouble.

Clause; Word Functions; Finite / Nonfinite;
NP
–noun phrase;
T
– noun;
VP – verb phrase;
V
– verb;
Comp
– complement;
Det
– determiner; PP – prepositional phrase;
P
– preposition;
Sub
– Subordinator

Works Cited

  • Aarts, Bas.
    Oxford Modern English Grammar.
    Oxford UP, 2022.
  • Biber, Douglas, and Stig Johansson, et al.
    Longman Grammar Of Spoken And Written English.
    Pearson Education, 1999.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum.
    The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.
    Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • “Non-finite verb.”
    Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 04 May 2022. wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonfinite_verb. Accessed 27 May. 2022.
  • Payne, Thomas Edward.
    Understanding English Grammar: A Linguistic Introduction.
    Cambridge UP, 2022.
  • Pullum, Geoffrey. “Non-finite Clauses” Linguistics and English Language. University of Edinburgh, 1 Nov 2012. lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/grammar/nonfiniteclauses.html. Accessed 27 May 2022.

Practice 1

Strange Weather

raining and flooding

Read the Context

The weather is strange this year. In the South, weather marked by exceptionally high temperatures and exceptionally little precipitation has destroyed crops.  In the East, rain falling endlessly has flooded city streets.

It is unusual for us to have so much rain in the East and none in the South.  In the West, temperatures remain about the same. However, precipitation has diminished.

crops (N) — produce that farmers grow such as corn, wheat, cotton, and hay

diminish (V) — become less

exceptionally (Adv) — unusually; unexpectedly

flood (V) — fill with too much water

mark (V) — have the attribute or characteristic

precipitation (N) — rainfall

Identify the verb category in each sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the “Check” or “Check 1-5” button.

1.

The weather
is
strange this year.


2.

In the South, weather
marked
by exceptionally high temperatures and exceptionally little precipitation
has destroyed crops.


3.

In the East, rain
falling
endlessly
has flooded city streets.


4.

It is unusual for us to
have
so much rain in the East and none in the South.


5.

In the West, temperatures
remain
about the same.



Practice 2

Hurricane Irene Spoils Wedding Plans

wedding in the rain

Read the Context

Several couples hoped to marry this weekend. A hurricane pounding the East Coast changed their plans. It was impossible to hold their weddings as planned.

Three couples not wanting to delay decided to marry in Central Park. They said their vows standing in the rain and undisturbed by barely anyone.

pound (V) — strike, hit

delay (V) — postpone; wait berayun-ayun later

undisturbed (Adj) — not bothered by anyone

vow (N) — a promise

Identify the nonfinite clause.

  1. Select the nonfinite clause from the list.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the “Check” or “Check 6-10” button.

6.

Several couples hoped to marry this weekend.


7.

A hurricane pounding the East Coast changed their plans.


8.

It was impossible to hold their weddings as planned.


9.

Three couples not wanting to delay decided to marry in Central Park.


10.

They said their vows standing in the rain and undisturbed by barely anyone.


Practice 3

Weather

walking in rain with an umbrella

Identify the verb form type

  1. Select the verb form type from the menu.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the “Check” or “Check 11-15” button.

11.

Verb form type (come):


12.

Verb form type (seen):


13.

Verb form type (falling):


14.

Verb form type (talk):


15.

Verb form type (do):



Source: https://www.grammar-quizzes.com/sent-nonfinite.html

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