There are different types of short subclauses but they all have two things in common:
- A short subclause does not have a subject
- A short subclause always contains a 'te + infinitive'
Another word for 'short subclause' is 'infinitive clause'.
In short subclauses, the subject is omitted. This is a phenomenon we also see in English.
This is a sentence with a main clause and a 'complete' subclause:
|I had promised that I would come to his birthday
In the sentence below, we omitted the subject in the subclause:
|Ik had beloofd
||op zijn verjaardag
||te zullen komen
|I had promised to come to his birthday
The most common short subclause is the abbreviated 'that' clause, like the one above. See also that-verbs + te + infinitive.
Te + infinitive
In the example above, you probably noticed the change that took place in the VERBS part: zou komen turned into te zullen komen. This is a typical characteristic of the short subclause:
In a short subclause, the finite verb
turns into te + infinitive
The finite verb zou turned into te + infinitive: te zullen.
In the absence of a subject, we no longer need a finite (conjugated) verb.