Results 1 to 7 of 7

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    Non-finite verbs

    What are the main differences between finite and non-finite verbs? And how to find out whether a verb is finite and non-finite, given even teh participle and gerund are non-finite while they are the forms of the verbs already?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Germany

    • Join Date: Jul 2005
    • Posts: 1,198
    #2

    Re: Non-finite verbs

    The expression Finite/non-finite is no longer definable in terms of inflection. Clauses whose verb is primary inflected for tense or mood are finite, those whose verb is a past participle or gerund are non-finite. Non-finite clauses are secondary (subordinate), desententialisation, loss of properties that are associated with a clause standing alone as a full sentence. Finite is related to limited/marked, limited to person and number.

    Takes is finite because it is limited to occurrence with 3rd person singular subject (he/she/it: in the present). The prototypical finite clause contains a tensed verb:

    The boy was seen by the guard (finite, main clause)
    The boy seen by the guard (subordinate – non-finite)

    They don't leave until tomorrow (tensed, finite)
    I advised him not to leave (not to leave is non-finite)
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 03-Dec-2006 at 19:48.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #3

    Re: Non-finite verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ishwor View Post
    What are the main differences between finite and non-finite verbs? And how to find out whether a verb is finite and non-finite, given even teh participle and gerund are non-finite while they are the forms of the verbs already?
    Gerunds, participles, and infinitives, are non-finite verbs. Many people call them verbals to indicate that they have verbal roots but are incapable of acting as the main verb of a clause or sentence. They can be confusing because they can still have an "action" feeling about them, they still take adverbs, and they can still have a direct object. The main clue is that they are not the main verb in the clause or sentence. That means that there will be a finite verb somewhere else in the statement.

    When you look at a sentence, first try to find the simple subject and the finitie verb. Then you can try to identify the roles of the other words.

    Gerunds end in -ing and they act as nouns.

    Swimming in the ocean is a common summertime activity.

    "Swimming" is not the verb in the sentence. It is a gerund/noun and it is the subject of the sentence.

    I want to date her.

    The infinitive phrase "to date her" is the direct object of the main verb "want". The infinitive (with its object) acts as a noun.

    Sitting in his car, John received a telephone call.

    In this sentence, the subject is "John" and the main verb is "received". So what is "sitting"? It is a present participle (note that it has the same form as a gerund) being used as as an adjective. The participle (with its prepositional phrase) modifies the subject "John".

    The key to analyzing sentences is identifying the role that each word plays.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #4

    Re: Non-finite verbs

    In other words, finite verbs are predicates? Be and copulative verbs are also tensed and thus are finite?
    Tnx

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #5

    Re: Non-finite verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    In other words, finite verbs are predicates? Be and copulative verbs are also tensed and thus are finite?
    Tnx
    Yes, at least part of the predicate. But, be careful about the "tensed" rule. Past participles can look just like "tensed" verbs.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #6

    Re: Non-finite verbs

    Thanks,
    That's not a problem.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #7

    Re: Non-finite verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    Thanks,
    That's not a problem.
    It may be a problem if students look for tense as a reliable sign of a finite verb.

Similar Threads

  1. main finite verbs
    By studygirl in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Apr-2006, 02:50
  2. Phrasal Verbs Decoded
    By kvinchuca in forum English Phrasal Verbs
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 19-Dec-2005, 16:39
  3. what is finite verbs?
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Feb-2005, 13:50
  4. Finite verbs
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16-Jan-2004, 01:20

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •