He left the party and went home, not having anyone to talk to.

**A clause is a collection of words that has a subject that is actively doing a verb.*

Non-finite clauses contain a verb which does not show tense but have no subject doing a verb so why are they classed as clauses and not phrases.


2 Answers 2


From "Oxford dictionaries"

A clause is a group of words that contains a verb (and usually other components too).

The clause may be active or passive. It may have a finite verb or a non-finite verb.

Some finite verbs do have an explicit subject. At other times the subject is implied by the rest of the sentence.

He cut the lawn to make the garden tidy. (infinitive clause giving purpose. Implied subject. He made the garden tidy.)

John falling off the table was funny (gerund clause with explicit subject "John")


A clause with a finite verb is called a finite clause. A finite clause can be : a matrix (main) clause or a subordinate clause.

A clause with a non-finite verb is called a non-finite clause. A non-finite clause can be a subordinate clause only.

Finite clauses have an overt or explicit subject whereas non-finite clauses have an implied subject. The subject of the matrix clause is usually the subject of the non-finite subordinate clause.

But a phrase doesn't have a subject, and herein lies the difference.

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