Finite Verb and Non-Finite Verb! Learn definition, grammar rules & examples of finite and non-finite verbs in English with ESL printable infographic.
Finite and Non-Finite Verbs
- Verbs that have a definite relation with the subject or noun.
- These verbs are usually the main verb of a clause or sentence and can be changed according to the noun.
- They are used only in present and past tense.
- They can be indicative of passive or active voice and also of number (singular or plural).
She walks home. – Here we see that the finite verb is “walks” and the pronoun is ‘she’.
She walked home. – Here we can see how the verb changed/modified to change the tense of the sentence.
- You promised me the last ticket.
- I am excited about going to the amusement park.
- I went for a walk around the park.
- She was waiting in the room before he came in.
- Does your brother know my brother?
- We want John to act as club secretary.
- I like taking photographs of insects.
- Coming home last night, I saw a deer run across the road.
- These verbs cannot be the main verb of a clause or sentence as they do not talk about the action that is being performed by the subject or noun.
- They do not indicate any tense, mood or gender.
- They are used as nouns, adverbs and adjectives.
- They are also used to form non-finite clauses which are simply dependent clauses that use non-finite verbs.
Rules & Examples
He loves camping in the woods. – Here the non-finite verb is camping and it is used as a noun. These kind of non-finite verbs are called Gerunds.
- Do you fancy going out?
- Having read the book once before makes me more prepared.
- I like swimming.
- Being loved can make someone feel safe.
- We enjoyed their singing.
- We were delighted at Bianca being awarded the prize.
I need to go to sleep. – Here the non- finite verb phrase is to sleep, it is acting as a noun. Non-finite verbs that use ‘to’ before them are called Infinitives.
- I decided not to go to New York.
- I’d rather not eat meat.
- I might not come.
- You need to paint the whole cupboard, starting from the bottom.
- He asked me not to be late.
- I’d like you not to sing so loudly.
The sleeping dog caused a delay. – The non-finite verbs that have ‘-ing’ or ‘-ed’ as suffixes and cause the verb to come an adjective are called Participles.
- The man carrying the bricks is my father.
- She showed us a plate of scones crammed with cream.
- Whistling the same tune as always, Ted touched the front of his cap with his forefinger as she dismounted.
- Stunned by the blow, Tom quickly gathered his senses and searched frantically for the pepper spray.
- Arriving late, I saw the other kids and they seemed to be excited.