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Finite Verbs & Non-finite Verbs: Useful Rules & Examples


Finite Verbs & Non-finite Verbs! What is a finite verb? Learn how to distinguish between finite verb and non-finite verb in English with example sentences and ESL picture.

Finite Verbs

  • 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.

Finite verb Examples:

The girl runs slowly. (Subject is singular)

The girls run slowly. (Subject is plural)

  • A finite verb is controlled by the person.


visit my grandparents at least once a month. (I – First Person)

She visits her grandparents at least once a month. (She – Third Person)

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


Mary studies Spanish. (Present Tense)

Mary will study Spanish. (Past Tense)

Non-finite Verbs

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


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.)


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)

Finite Verb vs. Non-finite Verb | Image

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