I have a quick question regarding finite and non-finite clauses if I may?

In clauses that contain modal or auxiliary verbs marked for tense AND a non-finite element, is the clause finite or non-finite?

For example, are:

We had washed the dishes

... and

I have been thinking

... finite because of the tense dictated by had and have, or are they non-finite because of the participles?

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


You call to-infinitive infinitive because it is not finite (infinite). To-infinitive and present participle can't indicate any tense because they can't inflect (change their forms).

Finite clauses should contain a verb which shows tense.

We had washed the dishes. I have been thinking

Both clauses are finite because the words in bold are indicating tenses and aspects.

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