I thought to read on matrix clauses. In

25) [Bill wants [Susan to leave]].

I think in text this seemed like a matrix clause. Matrix clauses get called that in that they contain two clauses? I may not get where these clauses get placed. I think a clause requests a verb and arguments. I may get Bill wants Susan to leave, one clause, Bill (subject[?], wants (transitive[?] verb[?]), Susan (object[?]), to leave, (I may not get). I may not get where a second clause seems here?

  • 1
    Matrix clause = main clause = independent clause, and embedded clause = subordinate clause = dependent clause.
    – user230
    Nov 27, 2015 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


The phrase Susan to leave is a subordinate clause, which functions as one single element within the main clause:

  • Bill (subject)
  • wants (predicate/verb)
  • Susan to leave (object)

However, subclauses can normally be broken down on their own level as well, though this is not very straightforward here because we're dealing with a non-finite subclause. You could say that Susan is the subject while to leave is the predicate.

You could try to convert the non-finite subclause to a finite one, but that does not really work in this case. You would be left with a rather unnatural sentence:

Bill wants that Susan leaves.

However, now it is more clear that Susan is indeed the subject and leaves the verb. And still the whole subclause that Susan leaves functions, as a whole, as a direct object in the main clause.

  • Non-finite subclauses seem interesting. I may read on that. I may get Susan like a subject, I may not get to leave. I guess I thought a subordinate clause contains a subordinate conjunction or maybe relative pronoun. I guess I may mostly not get Susan to leave if it seems like maybe a dependent clause. I may not get what dependent clause. Maybe it seems like a noun clause, maybe? And I guess I thought predicates place information maybe on a verb, if to leave seems a predicate, I may not get that. I may not get what maybe verb it places information upon.
    – saySay
    Jun 30, 2015 at 16:19

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