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Finite & Non-Finite Verbs: Explained With Example

Published on Thursday, September 07, 2017

Do you want to score more marks in English section? Do you want to become an erudite in English? Unless you become perfect in grammar basics, it’s not easy to score more in this section.
To reach the top of the building, first of all, you need to move on to the first step. So, let’s start from here.
We know the significance of verb in a sentence. We cannot frame a sentence without a verb. So, it is also inevitable to know about the verb.
Generally verbs are limited by person, number and tense. It means, the form of verb changes

1. If the person is changed
e.g. I write. (I-first person)
He writes. (He-Third person)

2. If the number is changed
e.g. She controls the employees. (She-singular)
They control the employees. (They-plural)

3. If the tense is changed
e.g. Mina went to the party. (Past tense)
Mina goes to the party. (Present tense)

All such verbs limited by number, person and tense are called Finite verbs.
There are three kinds of verbs which are not limited by number,person and tense. They are:
  • Infinitive
  • Gerund
  • Participle


An infinitive is a form of verb which is not limited by person, number and tense.
It is generally used with ‘TO’. Sometimes, it is used without ‘TO’ also.
E.g. I like to travel around the world.

→The following verbs do not take ‘to’ after them with the infinitive in the active voice.
They are: make, bid, let, hear, see, feel, watch, notice, need
→After the following auxiliaries, we do not use ‘to’ with the infinitive.
They are: do, does, did, shall, will, should, would, can, could, might, may.
  • She does the work well.
  • I shall return the book tomorrow.


Infinitive as the subject of a verb.
e.g. To reach the apex in any field is not easy.

Infinitive as the object of a transitive verb. e.g. banks do not want to afford much on NPAs.

Infinitive as the complement of a verb (subjective predication).

e.g. It seems to be a holiday.

Infinitive with adverbs too and enough.
e.g. He is too tender to bear.
She is old enough to understand.
Infinitive to qualify an entire sentence.
e.g. To tell the truth, he is very malicious.


A gerund is a form of verb that does the work of a noun.So it is also called as verbal noun.
E.g. Smoking is injurious to health.
The noun or pronoun that comes before a gerund is always in the possessive case.
E.g. I accept your offering me a job.
A gerund is formed by adding ‘ing’ to the verb.

Uses of gerund:

Gerund as the subject of the verb.
E.g. preventing is better than cure.

Object of the transitive verb.
E.g. I like learning.

Object of a preposition.
E.g. Many people are fond of watching tv.

Complement of a verb.

E.g. The child’s real problem is coming to school.


A participle is a form of verb that does the work of a verb, an adjective and of a noun.
  • E.g. here is your driving license. (Adjective)
  • Safe driving is wonderful art. (Noun)
  • Seeing the police, the thief ran away. (Verb)


There are three kinds of participles.
Present participl
eating(1stform+ing) -active voice
being eaten(being+3rdform) -passive voice

Past participle
eaten(3rd form) -active voice
Been eaten(been+3rd form) -passive voice

Perfect participle
having eaten -active voice
Having been eaten -passive voice


Qualify nouns
e.g. It is an interesting book.

Can be subjective complements
e.g. The news was shocking.

Can be objective complements.
e.g. They left the room spoilt.

When two actions by the same subject are expressed and one of them follows the other,then the former action can be denoted by a participle.
e.g. Hearing his father’s voice,he went inside.

When two actions occur at the same time, one of them is expressed in participle.
e.g. Standing at the door, he saw me.

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