Verbs: Non-finite Forms

Subject: English

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This note explains about the non-finite forms of verb.

Verbs: Non-finite Forms

Finite Verb:

A verb that is limited by the person and number of the subject is called a finite verb. For an example:

He goes to the school to study.

They go to the school to study.


A verb not limited by a person and number is called a non-finite verb.

There are three groups of non-finite:

  1. The infinitive:

    to steal, to forget, to write(present infinitive)

    to have stolen, to have forgotten (past infinitive)
  2. The participle

    stealing, forgetting, writing (present participle)

    stolen, forgotten, written (past participle)

  3. The gerund:

    Stealing, forgetting, writing

The infinitive

The infinitive is also referred to as the to-verb. But it can be used with or without to:

  1. I want to play. (to infinitive)
  2. She can play chess very well. ( the infinitive without to)

When an infinitive is used without to, it is called a bare infinitive.

The participle

A word which is like a verb but performs the work of an adjective is called a participle. We may say that a participle is a verbal adjective.

In the sentences below, the words printed in bold letters are also participles:

The broken windows had to be replaced.

The injured man was taken to the hospital.

There are two kinds of participles:

  1. The present participle: burning, watching

    (a) The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the root form of the verb.

    (b) The present participle describes an incomplete action or state: The burning house ( the process of burning continued)

    (c) The present participle is active in form: The waiting guests (the guest were waiting- active)

  2. The past participle: broken, injured

    (a) The past participle usually ends in -ed, -d, -t, -en or -n.

    (b) The past participle denotes an action or state which is completed: The broken window (The process of getting broken is completed.)

    (c) If the past participle is formed from a transitive verb, it is passive in form: The injured man (the man is injured- passive)

The gerund

A word which is like a verb but performs the work of a noun is called a gerund. We may say that a gerund is a verbal noun.For an example:

Dancing is good for health.

Collecting stamps is her hobby.

The gerund and the present participle

Both the gerund and the present participle are formed by adding -ing to the verb. How are they then different from each other?

A gerund is a verbal noun: I am tired of your grumbling.

A present participle is a verbal adjective: Grumbling children are not liked.













Things to remember

Verbs: Non-finite Forms

  • Finite Verb


  • Non-finite

The infinitive

The participle

The gerund



  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.

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