Finite Verbs and Non-Finite Verbs :
Study the following sentnces.
We have used the verb SING with I, SINGS with he and SING with they.
The form of the verb sing has changed according to its subject.
You will find in the following sentences three different forms of BE.
I am a teacher.
He is a good pupil.
They are my siiter.
The form AM is used with the first person singular I.
The forms IS is used with the third person singular HE.
The form ARE is used with the third person they.
The word finite means LIMITED.
A finite verb is limited by its subject.
It agrees with its subject in number and person.
A finite verb is also limited by its tense.
Look at the following sentences.
He sings. (Present tense)
He sang. (Past tense)
The verb form has changed according to the tense.
To sum up, a finite verb is one which can show number, person and tense.
It has a subject.
Consider the following sentences.
He likes singing.
They want to sing.
The verb forms SINGING and TO SING have no subjects. Such forms cannot have subjects. We do NOT say HE SINGING and THEY TO SING.
Verbs forms such as these are called non-finite verbs or non-finites.
The basic difference between the two forms is.
A finite verb is a verb with a subject.
A non-fintie verb has no subject.
There are four kinds of non-finites.
1. Infinitive with or without to (to be, be)
2. Present Participle (being)
3. Gerund (being)
4. Past Partiple (been)
As you may have noticed, the present participle and the gerund have the same form (being) the present participle helps to make a continuous tense (I am reading) or does the work of an adjective while the gerund does the work of a noun. It would be sometimes difficult to differentiate between the present participle and the gerund. Some grammarians avoid these terms and use the term ING form for both cases.
Examples of non-finites :
The boys began to cry. (Infinitive with to)
You may go. (Infinitive wthout t plain infinitive)
They are playing hockey. (Present particple in form)
I dislike seeing films. (Gerund)
Who has taken my pen? (Past particple)
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Finite Verbs and Non-Finite Verbs
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