Types Of Clauses

Clause = Subject + Predicate Phrase

  • The subject is the NP being assigned a property
  • The predicate phrase is the property that is being assigned to the subject

e.g. "Susan is a linguistics student"

"Susan" is the subject.
" is a linguistics student" is the predicate phrase.

Main vs Embedded

The main/root clause is the highest clause, it contains all other clauses, and is the entire sentence/clause/phrase.

Embedded/subordinate clauses are inside other clauses.

E.g. = Screen%20Shot%202012-04-26%20at%2011.10.50%20AM.png

Tree Representation

We can represent these clauses as trees, and hence very easily see where embedded clauses fit in.

Screen%20Shot%202012-04-26%20at%2011.12.03%20AM.png

Types of Embedded Clauses

Specifier Clauses

When an embedded clause is in a specifier position (child of XP, sister to X') then we say it is a specifier clause.

  • "People selling their stocks caused the crash of 29"

Complement Clauses

When an embedded clause is in a complement position (child of X', sister to X) then we say it is a complement clause.

  • "Heidi asked if they could get some jam"

Adjunct Clauses

When an embedded clause is in an adjunct position (child of X', sister to X') then we say it is an adjunct clause.

  • "[The man I saw get into the cab] robbed the bank"

Finite vs Non-Finite

We know of TPs - now we bring in the TP head (T) to tell us if a clause is finite or not (i.e. tensed or untensed).

E.g.

  • "I thought that John left" = finite
  • "I want John to leave" = non-finite

Distinguishing: Tense/Person Tests

It is not always quite so simple though. Finite clauses show verbal agreement and tense morphology - so to test this we can change the tense/person.

e.g.

  • "I know you eat asparagus" = finite
  • "I've never seen you eat asparagus" = non-finte
  • "I know you ate asparagus" = finite
  • *"I've never seen you ate asparagus" = invalid sentence

Distinguishing: Cases

We can also test the difference using cases:

  • Subjects of finite clauses use the nominative case, whereas subjects of non-finite (or small clauses) use the accusative case.

Screen%20Shot%202012-04-26%20at%2011.18.26%20AM.png

Distinguishing: Types of T heads:

Finite:

  • that
  • which
  • if
  • Ø

e.g. "I think that he should go"

Non-Finite:

  • for
  • Ø

e.g. "I want for him to leave'