This article presents an analysis of the structure and use of the Finnish independent infinitives. Although typological studies have shown that syntactically independent non-finite constructions are widespread in many languages, the understanding of their semantic and intersubjective motivation is still in its early stages. The current paper aims to enrich the understanding of independent non-finite constructions by closely looking at free-standing infinitive constructions in spoken and written Finnish: it combines theoretical concepts of Cognitive Grammar with the methodological tools of Interactional Linguistics to explore the nature of independent infinitives as a resource for conceptualization and the intersubjective functions that it affords. The paper suggests that the fact that independent infinitives are grammatically ungrounded makes them useful in interactional and textual sequences involving affect display. As the indexical functions of infinitives can be explained from their own morphosyntactic and semantic characteristics, the paper makes the more general claim that there is no synchronic evidence that would support the assumption that such constructions ever evolved, via ellipsis, from finite constructions. Methodologically and theoretically, the paper advocates an approach that takes into account both the social and cognitive nature of language, and promotes the view that Cognitive Grammar offers a flexible, semantically rich starting point for the description of intersubjective meanings conveyed by grammar, when combined with the context-sensitive and microanalytical methodology of Interactional Linguistics.