What are finite and infinite verbs?

1 Answer
Jan 9, 2017

Here's a straightforward explanation of the difference between finite and non-finite verb forms from the web site http://www.grammaring.com/the-difference-between-finite-and-non-finite-verb-forms.


Finite verb forms are marked by inflection and indicate person, number and tense. A finite verb can be the single main verb in a sentence.

The finite forms of the verb go are:
go (present tense in all persons except the third person singular)
I go to school in the afternoon.
goes (present tense in the third person singular)
Mia goes to school by bus every day.
went (past tense)
Yesterday, we went to school at 9 am.

Non-finite verb forms do not indicate person, number or tense. In English most non-finite forms are infinitives, gerunds and participles.

The non-finite forms of the verb go are:
go (infinitive)
I can't go with you.
Unfortunately, she had to go.
Do you really go out with her?
I didn't go to work today.
I want to go home.

going (gerund)
I like going to the cinema.
Carol suggested going for a walk.
Going faster would have been really dangerous.

gone (past participle)
Jack has gone away on holiday.
By the time Sue returned, the others had gone back to their cars.
I wish I had gone to university.

going (present participle)
I'm going to a concert tonight.
I heard my dad going up the stairs.
Going across the bridge last night, I saw someone swimming in the river.

Check Wikipedia "Finite verb" and "Nonfinite verb" for a more detailed discussion.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite_verb and