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Grammar 08 - Forms of Non-finite Verbs
"HAVING HEARD about supersonic aircraft, Saurav closed his ears." Is HAVING HEARD a finite or a non-finite verb?

Grammar 08 - Forms of Non-finite Verbs

Read the following sentences:

  1. "The building RISES a few hundred feet above street level."
  2. "Spectators RAN towards the exit gates."
  3. "The dog sensed grave danger APPROACHING."
  4. "HAVING HEARD about supersonic aircraft, Saurav closed his ears."
  5. "The ocean receded and then the water began TO BUBBLE."

What can we gather from the above sentences? In the first sentence, the verb RISES agrees with the subject ‘building’ and also shows the tense. In the second sentence, the verb RAN agrees with the subject ‘spectators’ and also shows the tense. Do we see any commonality? The verbs agree with the subject in person and number and also show the tense. Such verbs are called FINITE VERBS.

Coming to sentences 3, 4 and 5 the verbs APPROACHING, HAVING HEARD and TO BUBBLE do not agree with any specific subject and also don’t show tense. Such verbs are called NON-FINITE VERBS. Non-finite verbs are of three kinds namely Gerund, Infinitive and Participle. A gerund is formed by adding ‘ing’ to a verb, an infinitive is formed by adding ‘to’ to the verb and a participle is formed by adding ‘-ing’, ‘-d, ‘-ed, ‘-en, ‘-t or ‘-n’ to the base verb.

’Running is a good way to keep fit’ is a sentence where ‘running' is a gerund.

‘I’ll arrange to see the doctor’ is a sentence where ‘to see’ is an infinitive.

‘I have been reading’ and ‘I have worked’ are sentences where ‘have been reading’ and ‘have worked’ are participles.

Verbs are very tricky but not impossible to understand. Take this quiz and learn more about finite and non-finite verbs.

1.
Choose the correct sentence.
They traces the lost dog.
He trace the lost dog.
I traces the lost dog.
I traced the lost dog.
'Lost' is the participle non-finite verb. The finite verb 'trace' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
2.
Choose the correct sentence.
The car crash into the bus driving down the hill.
The car crashed into the bus driving down the hill.
The car has crashes into the bus driving down the hill.
The car have crashed into the bus driving down the hill.
'Driving' is the participle non-finite verb. The finite verb 'crash' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
3.
Choose the correct sentence.
He offer to pay for the damage.
I offers to pay for the damage.
They offers to pay for the damage.
They offered to pay for the damage.
'To pay' is the infinitive non-finite verb. The finite verb 'offer' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
4.
Choose the correct sentence.
Please remind me to get the book from the library.
Please reminds me to get the book from the library.
Please reminded me to get the book from the library.
Please reminding me to get the book from the library.
'To get' is the infinitive non-finite verb. The finite verb 'remind' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
5.
Choose the correct sentence.
I hopes to expand the market.
They hopes to expand the market.
I hope to expand the market.
He hope to expand the market.
'To expand' is the infinitive non-finite verb. The finite verb 'hope' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
6.
Choose the correct sentence.
He was faking his illness.
He were faking his illness.
They is faking his illness.
They was faking his illness.
'Faking' is the gerund non-finite verb. The finite verb 'be' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
7.
Choose the correct sentence.
Would they minds opening the window?
Would you minded opening the window?
Would you mind opening the window?
Would you minds opening the window?
'Opening' is the gerund non-finite verb. The finite verb 'mind' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
8.
Choose the correct sentence.
I likes solving problems.
They like solving problems.
He like solving problems.
They likes solving problems.
'Solving' is the gerund non-finite verb. The finite verb 'like' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
9.
Choose the correct sentence.
I heard my mother talking on the phone.
I hears my mother talking on the phone.
I has heard my mother talking on the phone.
I hearing my mother talking on the phone.
'Talking' is the participle non-finite verb. The finite verb 'hear' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
10.
Choose the correct sentence.
I plan to study until midnight.
I plans to study until midnight.
He plan to study until midnight.
They plans to study until midnight.
'To study' is the infinitive non-finite verb. The finite verb 'plan' has to be compatible with number, person and tense
Author:  V T Narendra

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