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Finite and Non-Finite Verbs

What are Finite Verbs?

A finite verb is a verb form which has a subject and shows tense, person (first, second or third) and number (singular/plural). A finite verb can be the main verb in a sentence. A finite verb describes an action whereas non-finite verb form plays the role of other parts of speech.

The following are some examples.

  • My school opens at eight.

  • James eats pasta everyday.

  • I went to school very late yesterday.

  • She washed her dress yesterday.

  • He played the piano.

  • She always goes to school by bus.

  • The sun rises in the east.

  • Cats like milk.

What are Non-Finite Verbs?

A non-finite verb has no subject, tense, person (first, second or third) and number (singular or plural). A non-finite verb also called verbal. They cannot act as a verb; they act as nouns, adjectives and adverbs instead. There are three types of non-finite verbs: gerunds, participles and infinitives.

The following are some examples:

As Gerunds:

  • Walking is good for your health.

  • Learning is very important.

  • Cooking is a good hobby.

As Infinitives:

  • I like to read.

  • I want to play in the garden.

As Participles:

  • I am eating.

  • I was eating.

  • I have been eating.

  • I will be eating.

  • I will have been eating.

  • I have finished.

  • I had finished.

  • I will have finished.

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See Also:

English Grammar: