could anyone give me a precise definition of CLAUSE? Thank you
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clause: a group of words in a sentence that contains a subject and predicate.

clause: a group of words that includes a verb and a subject and is a sentence or a main part of a sentence.

clause: a group of words, consisting of a subject and a predicate including a finite verb, that does not necessarily constitute a sentence

clause: a grammatical unit that includes, at minimum, a predicate and an explicit or implied subject, and
expresses a proposition.

clause: a syntactic construction containing a subject and predicate and forming part of a sentence or constituting a whole simple sentence.
The definition has changed in the community of linguists over the past years.
In traditional grammar, a clause was required to have a finite (inflected) verb. Word groups forming a proposition but with a non-finite verb were called phrases.
In modern grammars, this requirement is relaxed, so a clause could contain either a finite or non-finite verb.

http://www-01.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsAClause.htm
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AlpheccaStarsIn modern grammars, this requirement is relaxed, so a clause could contain either a finite or non-finite verb.
Or no verb at all: While in Alabama, I took care of my grandfather; Who’s the guy with his hands in his pockets?
his hands in his pockets Isn't that a noun phrase?
in Alabama Do you mean that the concept of phrase (no verbal element at all) is defunct?
AlpheccaStarshis hands in his pockets Isn't that a noun phrase?
It looks like one, but I think it’s best analyzed as a clause. One piece of evidence is that the first noun can be followed by an adjective without dependents: He didn’t want to eat with his hands dirty; With the children sick, we weren’t able to get much work done. In NP structure, the adjective normally comes before the noun. This construction can also take clausal adjuncts: the guy with his hands in his pockets all the time; with the children sick all week.
AlpheccaStarsin Alabama Do you mean that the concept of phrase (no verbal element at all) is defunct?
I’m not sure I understand the question. Could you rephrase?
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Aspara GusI’m not sure I understand the question. Could you rephrase?
In traditional grammar (the one that I learned in grade school), a clause was a semantically meaningful set of words ( a "proposition") which required a subject (explicit or implied) and a predicate with a finite verb.

A phrase was a semantically meaningful group of words that was labeled by its head word, ie. a prepositional phrase, a participial phrase, an infinitive phrase, etc. It seems like the classification of what is a phrase, and what is a clause have so dramatically shifted in favor of the clause, that the groups of words that are put in the "phrase" category has atrophied, perhaps not to zero, but quite limited.
AlpheccaStarsIt seems like the classification of what is a phrase, and what is a clause have so dramatically shifted in favor of the clause, that the groups of words that are put in the "phrase" category has atrophied
To an extent, but a wide range of phrases are still recognized: we have noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective phrases, determinative phrases, adverb phrases, and preposition phrases. And of course, in Alabama in while in Alabama is a PP as well as a clause (like help in Help! is not only a clause but also a VP and a verb).
AlpheccaStarshis hands in his pockets Isn't that a noun phrase?
Just to muddy the waters.

It's not the entity those hands which were in his pockets vs some other hands; it's another way of saying he has his hands in his pockets. That's why I can see how it can be a clause.
AlpheccaStarsin Alabama
As above, much of the clause is implicit: While I was in Alabama.

CJ
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