7.1 Glossary - Key language concepts

Understanding words used to describe language and grammar will help you to improve your understanding of English more rapidly. This is a glossary of the most important terms used on this course.

Browse the glossary using this index

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finite subordinate clause

A subordinate clause which contains a finite (tensed) verb.

finite subordinate clause main clause
Even though Bogota has a population of 11 million people, it does not have a train or metro network.
Since it is a public holiday, there won't be too much traffic on the roads.


Compare these to non-finite subordinate clauses, which do not contain a finite verb: 

non-finite subordinate clause main clause
Despite having many beautiful beaches, there is not much tourism in the region.

finite verb

A finite verb is one that occurs in a position in a sentence that shows tense. Therefore, finite verbs can change their form by inflection:

  • He wants to study at the best university in his country.

In the example above 'wants' is finite because it is showing the present simple tense and third person by adding an 's'. However, 'to study' cannot change form and is an example of a non-finite verb in this context.