Know the Difference Between Finite and Non Finite Verbs

Know the Difference Between Finite and Non Finite Verbs

Know the Difference Between Finite and Non Finite Verbs

Know the Difference Between Finite and Non Finite Verbs

There are two kinds of verbs :- Finite Verbs and Non Finite Verbs

Finite Verbs

The finite verbs changes with the person and number of the subject. It has the present or past form. This means finite verbs has tenses. Every sentence must jave a finite verb.

Look example:-

Curt thinks that he is greay musician.
The verb thinks has a subject. Its form is determined by the number and person of its subject, namely Curt. Verbs which are thus limited by number and person of their subject are called Finite Verbs.
Some other pointers to identify finite verbs:
  1. Wher there are a string of verbs in a sentence, one after another, as in "You should have been listening"! The first verb in the sentence is usually the finite verbs.
  2. The verbs to be, have and do are very frequently used in English in their finite forms; is, are, was, had,has, does, did are always finite verbs.
  3. Verbs like can/could, shall/should, will/would, might are always finite verbs.
  4. Imperative verbs are finite verbs: Go away! Put that down.

Non-Finite Verbs

There verbs are not limited by subject, person, number or tense. Typically they are infinitive forms with and without to (e.g. to go,go), -ing forms and -ed forms.
  1. She tiptoed round the house so as not to wake anyone.
  2. Walking down Parker Road, he was botheref by the traffic lights.
  3. Arrested last night, he is in jail this morning.

In the sentences given above, the verbs 'to wake', "walking" and "arrested" are not linked to the subjects of the sentences. Althogh the non finite verbs "walking" in sentence (2) shows the continous tense, but the sentence is in the simple past tense because the main verb "was bothered " shows the simple past tense.

Now look at some more example to understand the non finite verbs clearly:

  1. He is going to complete his task. ( verbs 'is going' is in present continuous tense)
  2. Michel was askes to participate in the race. (Verb 'was asked' is in past indefinite tense)
In both sentences, the verbs is directly linked to the subject in terms of number and person and shows tense 'be'. The other verbs forms in these two sentences ' to complete' and 'to participate' are non finite. If we changes the subject and the verb accordingly, these non finite verbs will not change their form.

Look at these examples:

  1. They are going to complete their task.
  2. Cyrus is asked to participate in the race.
A. Write Whether the bold verbs in each sentence is finite or non finite.
  1. Daania does her homework every day. __________________
  2. She speaks chinese very well. __________________
  3. Finding the gates widely open, the thief went inside. _____________________
  4. He had his car cleaned. __________________
  5. He has a big car. _____________________
  6. The proposal has been examined today. _______________

Types of Non Finite Verbs

Non finite verbs are not changed by the nature of the subject, and for this reason can never be tge main verb of a clause or sentence. Non finite verbs often function as adjectives, adverbs and even nouns. There are three types of non finite verbs.


Infinitives are always the base or the basic form of a verb. Usually the infinitives are preceded by to. When the infinitive is preceded by to, we call it full infinitive or to infinitive.

Look at these examples.

  • To type is a real skill.
  • To win the prize is my dream.
  • This is the best software package to improve productivity.
  • They want you to speak.
Sometimes we use the infinitve form without to. It is called the bare infinitive form.

Look at these examples:

  • I didnt see anyone come into room.
  • She made me do it again.


When a noun is formed form the present participle form of the verbs, it known as a gerund. This is another -ing verb and looks exactly the same as the present participle, but it has a different function in the sentence. The grrund acts as a noun or a noun pharse which can act as the subject in a sentence.

  1. Dancing is a very healthy pastime.
  2. Eating too much made me sick.


When a word is formed from a verb and the can be used as an adjective, it is known as a participle. There are three kinds of participles.

The present participle mostly ends with -ing.
  • His typing speed was less than ideal.
  • Sitting here, I can see the traffic passing by.
The past participle ofen ends with -ed, -en, or -t. The past participle is generally, though not strictly, in the passsive voice.
  • Wrtten in code between 1660 and 1669, the diary of Samuel Pepys was first published in 1825.
  • Sacred by dogs he can away.
The perfect participle indicates completed action. You form the perfect participle by putting the present participle having in front of the past participle.
  • Having typed the letter, she went home.
  • Havi g studied for the exam, Mike went to play football.

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