Some grammarians call the non-finite structures phrases and some clauses.


Is it the two things, or only one with two terms?

Thanks for the reply.
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To me, a phrase begins with a capital, and ends with a full stop.It's a sentence. In a sentence, you may find different kinds of clauses: relative, temporal clauses, etc...
But then I may be misled by French.
Better wait till a native sees your post!
A phrase is made up of a string of words without a verb. It is not a sentence. e.g. the man with the dog, those pretty red flowers, etc.

A clause usually contains a subject and a verb.
See: http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/clauses.htm

Hope that helps.
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As I said before, the word "phrase" misled me. In French, a "phrase" is a sentence, begining with a capital and ending with a "."(or?, or!)
Thanks for correcting me, Julie!
Thanks a lot,

so a phrase is a string of words without a verb. and what about participles, gerunds
and infinitives? They are not true verbs!

Is the string with these also a phrase?
I went through the website you recommended, and they explain
the non-finite structures as phrases and not clauses.

But if I browse also other sites, I find about half of them in favour of phrases,
and half of them in favour of clauses.

E.g. Greenbaum and Quirk say the non-finite structures are clauses.

Ah, what to do....
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I'm no grammarian. Perhaps others would like to help you out on this.

I did find this, however.
Googled and found only two incidence of "non-finite phrases".

'Non finite verbals' means 'the verbals are bearing no tense'

(EX-1) I am going to buy a newspaper.
Here we have three verbals: be(am), go(going), buy(to buy).
But the tense bearing verbial is only be.

Usually clauses defined as a part of a sentence containing a subject-verb structure Emotion: batS+V].
Here S denotes a subject and V a (tensed) verbal

(EX-2) We respect Ms Tarte who I got acquainted with here.
Here we have two clauses
(1) We respect Ms Tarte.
(2) I got acquainted with (who) here.

But how about for me to speak French in the sentence below?
(EX-3) It is difficult for me to speak French
The phrase "for me to speak French" doesn't contain any finite verbal.
But semantically 'me' is the subject of 'speak'. So it contains a S+V structure, despite the V being non-finite .
Some grammarians call this to-infinitive structure as a "non-finite (small) clause".

(EX-4) I want to go to school.
This could be imaginarily rephrased as "I wanted (for me) to go to school".
So this to-infinitive phrase "to go to school" is also a non-finite clause.

(EX-5) I regret losing money.
You can understand easily who lost money; it's 'I'.
So the gerundive phrase '(my) losing money' may be regarded as a non-finite clause.

(EX-6) Staying in Australia, I learned English.
This present participle structure 'staying in Autralia' is also regarded as a non-finite clause.

how many clauses are there?
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