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  1. E x

    Finite/non-finite verbs

    A friend and I are really struggling to understand finite and non-finite verbs! Is there an easy way to remember the rules about them?

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: Finite/non-finite verbs

    Welcome, E x.

    Here's a rule of thumb: if there are two verbs in a row, the first verb is the main verb (finite) and the second verb is non-finite.

    EX: I walked. <1 verb: "walked" is a finite verb>
    EX: I had walked. <2 verbs: "walked" is a non-finite verb; it's a past participle>

    Finite verbs agree in person and number with the subject,

    EX: She walks. <present tense>

    Non-finite verbs are not connected to the subject. They are objects of the main verb,

    EX: It has to work.
    <modal + non-finite verb; "work" is connected to the verb "has to", not to the subject>

    EX: I am supposed to go.
    <be + adjective + non-finite verb; "to go" is connected to "be supposed", not to the subject>

    Again, when in doubt, count the number of verbs. If there are two verbs, the first agrees in person and number with the subject (finite), the second does not (non-finite).

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