Finite and Non-finite Verb Forms | English Grammar

Learn how to distinguish between Finite and Non-Finite Verb Forms in English.

Finite Verb Forms

  • A finite verb is controlled by the number of the subject. If the subject is singular, the verb is singular. If the subject is plural, the verb is plural.

Examples:

The girl runs slowly. (Subject is singular)

The girls run slowly. (Subject is plural)

  • A finite verb is controlled by the person.

Examples:

go to the gymnasium on Sunday. (I – First Person)

He goes to the gymnasium on Sunday. (He – Third Person)

  • A finite verb is controlled by the tense. It can be in the past, present or future tense.

Examples:

She lives in London. (Present Tense)

She lived in London. (Past Tense)

Non-finite Verb Forms | Finite and Non-finite Verb

  • A non-finite verb is not controlled by the number, person and tense of the subject.

Examples:

I enjoy shopping for clothes and shoes.

You enjoy shopping for clothes and shoes.

They enjoy shopping for clothes and shoes.

(The verb shopping remains unchanged whatever be the person, number and tense of the subject.)

Examples:

She can’t go out . (Zero Infinitive)

I want to go to the cinema. (To-Infinitive)

I like going to the cinema. (Gerund)

I wish I had gone to university. (Past Participle)

I’m going to a concert tonight. (Present Participle)

The Difference between Finite and Non-finite Verb Forms | Image

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