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We know that a clause is a sentence which is a part of a sentence. So, a clause is itself a sentence having a subject and a predicate, but a phrase is just a group of words. To tell you the truth,I was terrified. He regrets now having jumped. I apologized for being late. Nowadays Infinitives, participles and gerunds are regarded as 'non-finite clauses'.

My question is : - (1) Are all the three parts (written above in bold letters) phrases as well as (non-finite) clauses at the same time? (2) Why are they regarded as clauses though they are not a complete sentence having a subject and a predicate? (3) Is there no distinction between a phrase and a (non-finite) clause in this case?

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  • Not in grammatical terms. A clause is not necessarily a sentence. It might be, but it can also be just part of a sentence. Your examples are clauses that (like most non-finite clauses) have no overt subject, but have a predicate consisting of a verb phrase. – BillJ Apr 30 '20 at 16:21
  • @BillJ, can those non-finite clauses be called phrases as well? What is the distinction between a phrase and a non-finite clause? – Sandip Kumar Mandal Apr 30 '20 at 16:24
  • The important thing is that unlike phrases they have a subject-predicate structure, and hence qualify as clauses. The fact that, like most non-finite clauses, they don't have overt subjects doesn't matter because they (usually) have understood subjects. – BillJ Apr 30 '20 at 16:27
  • @BillJ, you are saying clauses can be just a part of a sentence. But parts of speech, phrases -- these are also parts of a sentence? How can you differentiate between a phrase and a clause? This is the key point of my question. – Sandip Kumar Mandal Apr 30 '20 at 16:28
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    As I said, non-finite clauses usually have understood subjects rather than overt ones. The predicate, however, is overt, consisting of a verb phrase, e.g. "having jumped" in one of your examples. – BillJ Apr 30 '20 at 16:53

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