Non-finite clauses are based on to-infinitive and participles. They are actually subordinate clauses. Let us learn all about them.
What Are Non-finite Clauses?
Non-finite clauses can complete the meaning of a sentence, but they do not show the tense.
Why Do We Use Non-finite Clauses?
Non-finite Clauses: Types
There are different types of non-finite clauses. What they have in common is that they all are made of verbs, they do not have a subject, and they cannot show the tense. Here are the non-finite clauses:
Check out these examples for more clarification:
Using To-infinitive in Non-finite Clauses
To-infinitives are usually used to express a necessity or purpose to do something. Here are a few examples:
I bought a present for you
I have got work
Using Bare Infinitive in Non-finite Clauses
A bare infinitive can also be used to make non-finite clauses to show that someone caused something or to show they helped to do something. To show the manner we can also use the bare infinitive. Here are the examples:
I made him
Using Participles in Non-finite Clauses
Participles have two kinds: one is the present participle and the other is the past participle. Participles are usually used to express conditions, concession, manner, or reason. Here are the examples:
They passed the hallway
Non-finite Clauses: Characteristics
Non-finite clauses are usually subordinate clauses (also called embedded or dependent clauses). You can understand their tense based on the tense of the main clause. You can use them in relative clauses if the subject of the main clause and the subordinate clause are the same. You can use non-finite clauses after subordinators.
Why Non-finite Clauses Are Subordinate Clauses?
Subordinate clauses are clauses that are always dependent, which means they do not have a complete meaning when used alone. Check out the examples:
In this example, 'to clean the room' has no logical meaning when used alone.
They forced him
Finding the Subject of a Non-finite Clause
The subject of a non-finite clause can be derived from the subject of the main clause because they are usually the same. If not, you can easily find out the subject based on the meaning of the context they are used in. Take a look at some examples:
Since the subject of the main clause is the pronoun 'you,' the subject which is omitted from the subordinate clause is 'you.'
Based on the concept of the context and the meaning of the verb 'help,' 'he and other people' cooperated to take the car out of the parking lot.
Non-finite clauses do not have an exact time or tense when they are used alone, but the tense of the non-finite clause is found out based on the tense of the main clause. Here are the examples:
They asked if it would be a problem
In this example, the whole sentence is in the past tense, however, the clause 'to drink' has no tense.
Here, the current needs for the job is to be good at English at the time, if not you will loose it. So the whole sentence is in present tense.
Non-finite Clauses with Relative Clauses
If the subject of the relative clause and the main clause is the same, we can use the relative clause as a non-finite clause. Here are the examples:
Non-finite Clauses: Uses
Non-finite clauses can work as five different parts of a sentence as follows on the list:
Remember, subjects are used at the beginning of the sentence. Direct objects are used after a transitive verb. Subject complements are placed after the linking verbs. Object complements usually come after the direct object of the verb. adverbials are used to modify other adverbs, adjectives, or main verbs. Here are a few examples:
I want you
The point is
We just went there
None-finite Clauses as Coordinating Clauses
It has been mentioned that non-finite clauses are usually subordinate clauses, but when we use a non-finite as the subject of the clause, then it is a coordinating clause. For example:
Non-finite Verbs and Catenative Verbs
You can use no-finite clauses after catenative verb. Here are the examples for more clarification:
I heard you
Subordinating Conjunctions and None-finite Clauses
After some subordinating conjunctions (not all of them), such as after, before, although, though, if, etc. non-finite clauses are used. Here are a few examples:
Restrictive or Non-restrictive Clauses
Based on the way non-finite clauses function in a sentence, they can be restrictive or non-restrictive clauses. Here are a few examples:
She rang the bell
Usually, when a non-finite clause is used as the non-restrictive relative clause it is placed between two commas. Here is an example:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,
To Be + to Do Something
Non-finite clauses can also be used to give orders or to tell what you are going to do. Remember, in this case, they are only used with to-infinitives. Here is the structure:
- subject + to be + to-infinitive
These non-finite verbs can be used as adjectives either before or after the noun to modify them. Here are the non-finite verbs that can be used as adjectives:
- past participles
- present participles
Here are the examples:
That was quite a book
- What Are Non-finite Clauses?
- Why Do We Use Non-finite Clauses?
- Non-finite Clauses: Uses
- None-finite Clauses as Coordinating Clauses
- Non-finite Verbs and Catenative Verbs
- Subordinating Conjunctions and None-finite Clauses
- Restrictive or Non-restrictive Clauses
- To Be + to Do Something
- Non-finite Adjectives