Grammar

Finite and Non-finite Verbs with Examples in English

Finite and Non-finite Verbs with Examples in English

Welcome to learning about how sentences work! We’re going to talk about two kinds of verbs: finite and non-finite verbs. They each have their jobs that affect sentences in different ways. Let’s keep it simple. Finite verbs are like rule followers. They stick to the grammar rules, like matching subjects and showing when things happen. Now, non-finite verbs are a bit more easygoing. They come in forms like the present participle or infinitive and don’t care much about these rules, giving sentences more flexibility.
Imagine a dance between finite and non-finite verbs. Finite verbs are doing the structured steps, while non-finite verbs are freestyling and bringing in some cool moves. For example, look at the phrase “Finite and non-finite verbs example. It’s like a snapshot of finite verbs following the rules and non-finite verbs doing their own thing, adding a bit of flair.
To get the hang of it, try out some exercises. Practice makes perfect! Explore the details of finite and non-finite verbs to become a pro with words. It’s like unlocking the secrets of sentence building. So, jump in, have fun, and soon you’ll be a language pro, playing with words like a master!

Finite and Non-finite Verbs with Examples in English

Finite and Non-finite Verbs

Finite and Non-finite Verbs:

What is the finite verb?

A finite verb is a verb form that is used to indicate grammatical tense, person, and sometimes number. It typically carries the main meaning of the verb in a sentence and is conjugated to match the subject of the sentence. In English, finite verbs change their forms based on whether the action is happening in the past, present, or future, and they also vary depending on the subject (I, you, he/she/it, we, they).

Examples:

  • “I walk” (present tense, first person singular)
  • “She walks” (present tense, third person singular)
  • “They walked” (past tense, third person plural)

In contrast, non-finite verbs, such as infinitives and gerunds, do not show tense, person, or number agreement and are not affected by the subject of the sentence.

What is the Non-finite verb?

A non-finite verb is a verb form that does not have a specific tense, person, or number. Unlike finite verbs, which indicate the timing and subject of an action, non-finite verbs are more general and do not show these details. Examples of non-finite verbs include infinitives (to + base form, e.g., to eat), gerunds (verb + -ing, e.g., eating), and past participles (often ending in -ed, -en, or irregular forms, e.g., eaten). Non-finite verbs are often used to add information or describe actions without specifying when or who is performing them

Differences Between Finite and Non-finite Verb

Finite Verbs:

  • Time Indicator:
    Finite verbs tell us when an action happens—whether it’s in the past, present, or future.
    For example, in “She runs every morning,” “runs” shows it’s happening now.
  • Person and Number:
    They also give us clues about who is doing the action and how many people are involved.
    Example:
    “They have completed the assignment,” “have,” tells us it’s more than one person.
  • Match with Subject:
    Finite verbs need to match the person and number of the subject.
    Example:
    “He is my friend” is different from “They are my friends.”

Non-finite Verbs:

  • No Time Clue:
    Non-finite verbs don’t tell us when something is happening.
    Example:
    “I want to travel the world,” “to travel” doesn’t say when.
  • No Person or Number:
    They don’t give details about who is doing the action or how many people are involved.
    Example:
    “She enjoys reading novels” doesn’t specify who.
  • No Need to Match:
    Unlike finite verbs, non-finite verbs don’t have to match the subject.
    Example:
    “She plans to dance” doesn’t change even if the subject is different.

Let’s have a look at how infinitives, gerunds, and participles function in a sentence

Infinitives:

An infinitive is a verb in its basic form, often starting with “to” (like “to run”). When you use the full form (with “to”) in a sentence, it can act like a noun, adjective, or adverb. But when you drop the “to” and just use the base form (like “run”), it works with helping verbs (like can, will, must) in a sentence. These helping verbs are the main action words, and together they make a complete sentence.

Examples:

  • I like to read books. “Here, “to read” acts as the object of the verb “like.”
  • I would like to travel to new places every year. (Here, “to travel” functions as the direct object of the verb “would like.”)
  • She decided to learn a new language during the summer. (In this case, “to learn” is the infinitive and is the object of the verb “decided.”)

Non-finite infinitive Verb Examples

  • To Read: I want to read that book over the weekend.
  • To Cook: She loves to cook delicious meals for her family.
  • To Swim: The kids decided to swim at the beach this afternoon.
  • To Study: He needs to study for his upcoming exams.
  • To Dance: We like to dance at weddings.
  • To Play: They plan to play soccer after school.
  • To Draw: She has a passion for drawing beautiful sketches.
  • To Travel: We hope to travel to new places next year.
  • To Laugh: It’s important to laugh every day.
  • To Write: He aspires to write a novel someday.

These examples illustrate how infinitives can function in various roles within a sentence, such as subjects, objects, adverbs, adjectives, or complements.

Gerunds:

Gerunds are special words that happen when you add “ing” to verbs. They’re like verbs, but they act like things, not actions. Instead of doing the action, they become part of the sentence as if they were objects or ideas. So, gerunds are kind of like verbs that take a break and become more like nouns in a sentence.

Gerund Examples:

  • I enjoy singing in the shower.
  • Dancing is a great way to stay active.
  • Writing is her passion and profession.
  • The team celebrated by cheering loudly.
  • Cooking with friends can be a lot of fun.
  • His favorite pastime is fishing by the river.
  • Reading a good book is a relaxing activity.
  • We appreciate your help with cleaning the house.
  • Running in the morning energizes me for the day.
  • The kids had a blast playing in the park.
  • Reading books is often very enjoyable.
  • Seeing the ocean for the first time is incredible.
  • Swimming is a great form of exercise.
  • I enjoy reading novels in my free time.
  • Writing allows me to express my thoughts.
  • Her favorite hobby is painting landscapes.
  • Cooking can be a creative and relaxing activity.
  • He suggested going for a walk after dinner.
  • Running in the morning energizes me for the day.
  • They discussed the importance of learning new skills.
  • She has a passion for dancing at social events.
  • I appreciate your help with cleaning the house.
  • 30 Gerund Example Sentence

    Gerund Example Sentence

Participles:

  • Present Participle:
    A present participle is a form of a verb that typically ends in “-ing” in English. It is used to create verb tenses and progressive aspects. The present participle is formed by adding “-ing” to the base form of the verb.Example:
    Base Verb: walk
    Present Participle: walking

It’s important to note that while present participles often end in “-ing,” not all verbs ending in “-ing” are present participles. Some may be gerunds or other forms of the verb. Additionally, irregular verbs may have different forms for their present participles.

  • Past Participles:
    past participle is a verb form that is typically used to indicate a completed action or a state that resulted from a previous action. In English, past participles are often used in conjunction with auxiliary verbs to form various verb tenses, such as the present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect.
    The past participle is commonly formed by adding “-ed” to the base form of a regular verb (e.g., “walk” becomes “walked”), but irregular verbs have unique past participle forms (e.g., “go” becomes “gone”). Past participles can also function as adjectives, modifying nouns in sentences.Examples:
    Present Perfect Tense
    : She has written a novel.
    Past Perfect Tense: They had already eaten when I arrived.
    Passive Voice: The letter was sent yesterday.
    Adjective Use: The broken window needed repair.

The Significance of Sentence Structure:

The importance of sentence structure, specifically the presence of a finite verb, lies in its role in creating complete and coherent sentences. A finite verb is essential for expressing action and linking various parts of a sentence together. Without a finite verb, a sentence lacks the necessary elements to convey a complete thought or action.

In the given examples, sentences like :
“The car”
“The car on the road”
“The car on the road through the mountains”

lacks a finite verb, resulting in incomplete thoughts. These incomplete sentences fail to express the action of the subject (the car) and do not properly connect the various elements within the sentence.
By adding a finite verb, such as “drove,” the sentences become complete and functional.

Example:
“The car drove”
“The car drove on the road”
“The car drove on the road through the mountains”

Now provides a clear picture of the car’s action and establishes a proper connection between the subject and the other components of the sentence.

Furthermore, the importance of using a finite verb is highlighted when comparing it to the use of a non-finite verb, like the present participle “driving.” The sentence:

“The Car Driving on the Road through the Mountains”

is incomplete and disjointed because the action is not fully expressed. To rectify this, a finite verb, such as “was driving,” is needed to complete the sentence and convey the action more explicitly.

In summary, the inclusion of a finite verb in sentence structure is crucial for forming complete and meaningful sentences. It allows for the expression of actions, establishes connections between sentence components, and ensures that the intended message is conveyed clearly to the reader.

Finite and Non-Finite Verb Examples

Finite Verbs:

I am going to the store.
She runs five miles every morning.
We were watching a movie.
They have completed the assignment.
He will study for the exam.
You are my best friend.
She sings beautifully.
We can solve this problem.
The dog barks loudly.
It rained yesterday.

Non-finite Verbs:

I want to travel the world. (Infinitive)
She enjoys reading novels. (Gerund)
They plan to cook dinner together. (Infinitive)
He needs more time to finish the project. (Infinitive)
She suggested going to the beach. (Gerund)
We like to dance at parties. (Infinitive)
It’s important to exercise regularly. (Infinitive)
The cat is skilled at catching mice. (Gerund)
He stopped to ask for directions. (Infinitive)
They are excited about swimming in the pool. (Gerund)

Finite Verbs: 

We played soccer in the park.
She is watching a movie tonight.
He has written a novel.
I will call you later.
They went to the beach yesterday.
You were absent yesterday.
She solves math problems quickly.
We can hear the music.
The sun shines brightly.
It snowed last winter.

Non-finite Verbs:

I like to sing in the shower. (Infinitive)
He suggested going for a walk. (Gerund)
She decided to learn Spanish. (Infinitive)
We enjoy playing board games. (Gerund)
They plan to travel around Europe. (Infinitive)
It’s fun to cook new recipes. (Infinitive)
I heard him singing in the car. (Gerund)
The cat is known for sleeping all day. (Gerund)
She stopped to buy some groceries. (Infinitive)
They are thinking of moving to a new city. (Gerund)

Exercise of Finite verbs and Non-Finite verbs:

1. Which of the following sentences contains a finite verb?
a) Running in the park every morning.
b) The cat sat on the windowsill.
c) Swimming in the ocean is my favorite activity.
d) Having finished his homework, Mark went to bed
2. Identify the non-finite verb in the sentence: “The students were asked to read the assigned chapters before the class.”
a) were asked
b) read
c) to read
d) class
3. In the sentence, “She has been singing since morning,” the verb “singing” is an example of:
a) Finite verb
b) Non-finite verb
c) Action verb
d) Helping verb
4. Which of the following sentences has a non-finite clause?
a) I don’t know where she went.
b) Please pass the salt.
c) The dog barked loudly.
d) To solve this problem is challenging.
5. What is the finite verb in the sentence: “The birds chirped merrily in the trees”?
a) chirped
b) birds
c) in
d) merrily
6. Identify the non-finite clause in the sentence: “Eager to learn new things, Sarah enrolled in various online courses.”
a) Eager to learn new things
b) Sarah enrolled
c) in various online courses
d) Sarah
7. Which of the following is an example of a finite verb?
a) To bake
b) Baking
c) Bakes
d) Baked
8. In the sentence, “Having completed the project, she felt satisfied,” the phrase “Having completed the project” functions as:
a) Subject
b) Object
c) Finite verb
d) Non-finite clause
9. What type of verb is “to swim” in the sentence: “I love to swim in the ocean”?
a) Finite verb
b) Non-finite verb
c) Transitive verb
d) Intransitive verb
10. Identify the finite verb in the sentence: “The children played in the park all day.”
a) The
b) played
c) children
d) park

Answers:

  1. B
  2. C
  3. B
  4. D
  5. A
  6. A
  7. C
  8. D
  9. B
  10. B

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