Finite & NON Finite Verbs

Verb (doing word)

A verb is derived from the Latin word verbum which expresses action, occurrence or state of being.
Mahi answered the question. [action]
She became the C.R of the class. [occurrence]
Rahul is an intelligent student. [state of being]
Types of verb is determined by the kinds of words that follow it and the relationship those words have with the verb itself.
Verbs are classified as:

  • Simple and Complex
  • Principal verb (main verb) and Auxiliary verb (helping verb)
  • Transitive and Intransitive
  • Finite and Non- Finite
  • Linking Verbs

Finite and Non- Finite Verbs

Finite Verbs are those verbs that have a definite relation with the subject and can be changed according to tense (Present/Past/Future) or person {first (I/we)/second (you)/third person (he, she, they, it)} or number (singular/plural) or voice (Active/Passive).

Finite Verb, write can be changed with the change of tense/person /number/voice.


  1. She writes an article in the magazine.
  2. She wrote an article in the magazine.
  3. They write an article in the magazine
  4. An article is written by her in the magazine.

*In above sentences, finite verb, write, keeps changing.

*In example 4, Form of Be (is) is also a finite verb.

Non Finite Verbs do not change but remain constant with the change in tense or number or person. They do not indicate an action of the subject but function as nouns, adverbs and adjectives in a sentence.

He likes swimming.
They like swimming.
We liked swimming.
*In above sentences, non-finite verb, swimming does not change.


Gerund Vs Participle

Gerund is a non-finite verb form which ends in – ing but unlike present participle (verb+ing) which functions as an adjective or adverb, it functions as a noun.
Swimming is my hobby. (Gerund, noun [name of an activity])
He jumped into swimming– pool. (Present participle, [(adjective), quality/kind of pool is swimming])
Gerund is used as a subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.
Cycling is the best exercise. subject of sentence
• Her hobby is cycling. complement of sentence
• I enjoy cycling. object of sentence
• His mother scolded him for cycling fast. object of preposition


Hearing, a loud noise, we ran to the window. [ hearing, participle, qualifying the pronoun we]

Praising all alike is praising none. [praising, gerund, subject of the verb, is]

The infinitive verb

The infinitive verb is considered the basic dictionary form of a verb when used non-finitely, with or without the particle ‘to’ (eg. to dance, to write, to play). The form without to is called the bare infinitive, and the form with to is called the full infinitive or to-infinitive.

Infinitive (to verb) can be used in following ways:

Introduced by a main verb plus to Functioning as noun phrase Functioning as the modifier of a noun Function as an adverb Function as an adjective
I love to swim. To swim is a good exercise. The reason to swim here is that I like this place. I came to swim here. Go to swimming pool to swim.

Infinitive when not preceded by to is called bare infinitive.

 Bare infinitive can be used following ways:

Introduced by a modal or auxiliary verb Introduced by a main verb
You may leave now. One should do one’s duty. Let(Main verb) him go.He made(Main verb) them stand at the corner.  

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