Finite and Non-finite verbs

In this article, we learn what Finite and Non-finite verbs are, and what is the difference in between. After that, we study finite and non-finite verb explanation in detail with examples, we also discuss types/kinds of non-finite verb. At the end of the article, 10 questions exercise/worksheet given for practice help you to understand the topic better.

What is the difference between Finite and Non-finite verbs?

Finite and non finite verbs

These verbs which can either main verb of a sentence or the one that is used as an adjective or nouns as well.

Finite verbs are a broad category of verbs which are subject to change (s) in the number and/or person of the subject, and the tense (all 12 types of tense with example) of the verb. Whereas, Non-Finite verbs refer to the verb forms which remain unaltered not-with-standing the change (s) in the tense and/or the subject (number/person).

For example:

  1. These boys like to sing. (Finite Verb)
  2. He invited his friends to like his post on Facebook. (Non-finite verb)

Also, read

Finite and Non-finite verbs explanation

There are two kinds of verbs in English grammar.

  1. Finite Verb
  2. Non-Finite Verb

Finite Verb

Definition: A verb which shows time or a verb which is limited by number, person, and gender of the subject is known as a Finite verb.


  1. Neha writes letters.
  2. They write letters.
  3. We have written letters.
  4. I shall write letters.

In the given examples, the verb ‘write’ has been changed according to the number, person, and tense of the subject. So the various forms of the verb ‘write’ are examples of Finite Verbs.

Note: All lexical verbs including ‘be’ and its forms are Finite Verbs.

Non-Finite Verbs

Definition: A verb that does not show time or a verb which is not limited by number, person, and tense of the subject is known as a Non-Finite verb.


  1. Raman tries to sing.
  2. We try to sing.
  3. They try to sing.
  4. They will try to sing.
  5. I have tried to sing.

In the given examples the verb ‘sing’ has remained unchanged inspite of the changes in number, person, and tense of the subject and therefore the verb ‘sing’ is a Non-Finite Verb. But the verb ‘try’ had changed according to the changes in the person, number, and tense of the subject. Hence it is a Finite Verb.

Types of Non-Finite Verbs.

There are three kinds of Non-Finite Verbs in English

  1. Infinitive
  2. Gerund
  3. Participle

It is formed by placing ‘to’ before the root verb.

Example: She wants to reach home quickly. (as object)

To + verb forms are infinitives.

Root VerbInfinitive
writeto write
speakto speak
loveto love
giveto give
playto play

It is formed by adding ‘ing’ to the root verb.

Example: Reading is a pleasure for some people.

In the above sentence, the word reading is a gerund as they function as nouns in their respective sentences.

Root VerbGerund
write writing

It is formed by adding ‘ing’ to the root verb.

Example: The dying man called his sons to him.

In the sentence, the word ‘dying’ function as an adjective for they qualify their respective nouns man hence they are called participles (ing/V3 form of the verb).

Root VerbParticiple

Difference between Gerund and Present Participle?

The gerund and the Present participle have the same form but gerund is a verbal noun and the Present Participle is a verbal adjective.


  1. Reading increase our knowledge. (gerund)
  2. Reading the newspaper, he sat in the chair. (participle)

In the first sentence, ‘reading’ is a gerund because it is the subject of the verb ‘is’.

But in the second sentence, ‘reading the newspaper’ is a participle because it qualifies the pronoun ‘he’ as an adjective.

Exercise or Worksheet

Question 1. I think most of our friends prefer _____ (take) their own decisions rather than _____ (depend) on their parents.

Questions 2. She couldn’t stop herself from _____ (dance) on the grooving music.

Questions 3. He helped the children _____ (plant) saplings.

Questions 4. They saw the children _____ (cross) the road.

Questions 5. Riya’s favorite pastime is _____ (watch) old movie.

Questions 6. Let me _____ (think) of an idea _____ (carry) out our works smoothly.

Questions 7. It is a great joy _____ (live) your old moments again _____ (watch) these photographs.

Questions 8.  I know you are _____ (have) lots of fun with your friends.

Questions 9.  My friend always volunteers _____ cake on a party (baking/to bake)

Questions 10.  Don’t waste my time _____ about your neighbours. (complaining/to complain)


Finite and Non Finite verbs
Finite and Non finite verbs (707 downloads)


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