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Grammar 16 - Non-finites
"The choir is practising." - 'Practising' is a gerund; a type of non-finite verb.

Grammar 16 - Non-finites

English is a language of rules and conventions. These rules are known as grammar, which is important for proper understanding in the written and the spoken language. Verbs are one of the main parts of any basic communication and they are used to denote action. Verbs that are associated with the person and number of their subjects are known as main verbs. Main verbs can be classified in one way as finite and non-finite verbs (non-finites). This quiz on High English Grammar is all about the differences between finite and non-finite verbs.

Finite verbs are those that depend on the person and number of the subject, in addition to the tense, like so:

‘He plays,’ ‘I play’ and ‘She plays.’
‘They play.’
‘He plays’ and ‘he is playing.’

In the first three examples the verb changes with the person, in the fourth with the number and in the fifth and sixth with the tense. Non-finite verbs are those that do not depend on the person, number or the tense and they are of three kinds – gerund, infinitive and participle.

All three non-finites are formed by tweaking the base verb. In the case of gerunds we add ‘-ing’ to the verb, in the case of infinitives we add ‘to’ to the base verb, and, in the case of participles we add ‘-ing’, ‘-d, ‘-ed, ‘-en, ‘-t or ‘-n’ to the base verb.

‘I HAVE EXERCISED and EXERCISING is a good way TO STAY fit.’ This sentence has all the three non-finites in it. HAVE EXERCISED, EXERCISING and TO STAY are participle, gerund and infinitive respectively.

In order to understand non-finites we must first learn to distinguish between finite and non-finite verbs. In the next four Grammar quizzes we will learn more about non-finites as they are very important and help us to make our communication very compact and devoid of repetition. Take the quiz that follows, which is the first of the four quizzes, and learn to distinguish between finites and non-finites and also learn to identify the kind of non-finites.

1.
"I tried _______ a stain left by coffee from my shirt using the new cleaning agent."
Complete the sentence by choosing the appropriate non-finite from the following.
clean
to clean
to cleaning
to cleaned
Remember, the non-finite infinitive is formed by placing 'to' before the base verb. In option 1 'to' is missing. In options 3 and 4 the base verb changes form
2.
"We can hear the class choir __________ in the hall."
Complete the sentence by choosing the appropriate non-finite from the following.
practise
to practise
practised
practising
Remember, the non-finite gerund is formed by adding '-ing' to the base verb (practise-practising). In the other options the verbs are the wrong form for a gerund
3.
"_______ a loud sound, the students rushed out of the auditorium."
Complete the sentence by choosing the appropriate non-finite from the following.
Hearing
Hear
To hear
Heard
Remember, the non-finite participle is formed by adding ‘-ing’, ‘-d, ‘-ed, ‘-en, ‘-t or ‘-n’ to the base verb (hear -hearing). In the other options the verbs are the wrong form for a participle
4.
"I have run and running is a good way to stay healthy."
Choose the non-finites present in the sentence.
Participle only
Gerund only
Participle, gerund and infinitive
Infinitive only
The sentence comprises all three non-finites. Can you identify them?
5.
Choose the phrase with the gerund from the following.
Why do you ignore my warning?
Warnings ignored by her.
To ignore warnings.
Ignoring warnings.
Remember a gerund has an '-ing' ending. Option 1 is a sentence. Option 2 is a phrase with a non-finite verb (ignored) known as a participle. Option 3 is a phrase with a non-finite verb (to ignore) known as an infinitive. Remember, gerunds function like nouns. They can be used to form compound nouns, such as walking stick and frying pan
6.
"I watched the mild scolding with a _______ frown."
Complete the sentence by choosing the appropriate non-finite from the following.
to worry
worry
worried
worries
Remember, the non-finite participle is formed by adding ‘-ing’, ‘-d, ‘-ed, ‘-en, ‘-t or ‘-n’ to the base verb (worry-worried). In the other options the verbs are the wrong form for a participle
7.
Choose the sentence from the following.
Ayesha is singing with her sister.
Beating the drums.
Trees fallen on the road.
To swim in the pool.
This is a sentence where 'is singing' is a finite verb. Option 2 is a phrase with a non-finite verb (beating) known as a gerund. Option 3 is a phrase with a non-finite verb (fallen) known as a participle. Option 4 is a phrase with a non-finite verb (to swim) known as an infinitive. Remember, a gerund has an '-ing' ending; a participle has one of these: ‘-ing’, ‘-d, ‘-ed, ‘-en, ‘-t or ‘-n’ at its ending and an infinitive has 'to' before the base verb
8.
"The police constable saw a thief ________ on a bicycle."
Complete the sentence by choosing the appropriate non-finite from the following.
escaping
escape
to escape
escaped
Remember, the non-finite gerund is formed by adding '-ing' to the base verb (escape-escaping). In the other options the verbs are the wrong form for a gerund
9.
"I wish _______ to your notice the faulty product you have recently launched."
Complete the sentence by choosing the appropriate non-finite from the following.
bring
to bringing
to brought
to bring
Remember, the non-finite infinitive is formed by placing 'to' before the base verb. In option 1 'to' is missing. In options 2 and 3 the base verb changes form. Remember, an infinitive is the simplest form of the verb as it is exactly the same as the base verb and is usually preceded by 'to.' In a sentence, the infinitive always comes with a main verb
10.
Choose the phrase with the participle from the following.
My car collided with another car.
Collided with another car.
To collide with.
Colliding with.
Remember, a participle has one of these: ‘-ing’, ‘-d, ‘-ed, ‘-en, ‘-t or ‘-n’ as its ending. Option 1 is a sentence. Option 3 is a phrase with a non-finite verb (to collide) known as an infinitive. Option 4 is a phrase with a non-finite verb (colliding) known as a gerund. Remember, participles have two forms: present participle and past participle. Present participles generally end with '-ing.' Past participles end with ‘-d, ‘-ed, ‘-en, ‘-t or ‘-n.’ Participles function like adjectives
Author:  V T Narendra

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