Nonfinite Verb


We can define nonfinite verb as “A nonfinite verb is any of several verb forms that are not finite verbs; that is, they cannot serve as the root of an independent clause”.


Nonfinite verb differs from the finite verb in many ways. It cannot be used in the sentence as root of an independent clause. They are also called as verbals and divided into three types such as infinitives, participles and gerunds. More than one nonfinite verb can be used in the sentence with finite verb.

Nonfinite verb is a type of verb without a subject and it doesn’t show the tense or number in sentence. Nonfinite verbs do not work as predicate verb in a sentence. Nonfinite verbs do not indicate the action of subject or noun, tense, mood or gender in the sentence. They are commonly used in the sentence as nouns, adverbs and adjectives as well as to form non-finite clauses. For example:

  • We are reading (In this sentence: ‘we’ is a subject; ‘are’ is a finite and ‘reading’ is a nonfinite verb as it does not exhibit the tense or number).
  • We are writing a letter. (In this sentence: ‘we’ is a subject; ‘are’ is a finite verb and ‘writing’ is a nonfinite verb).


Following are examples showing the use of nonfinite verbs in the sentence:

  • Papers have been correctly checked by the teacher.
  • What do you want to have done about celebration?
  • We tried to deny to accept the invitation.
  • My father is trying to get the papers.
  • He weeps a lot. (is finite verb) whereas, He will weep a lot. (is nonfinite verb)
  • I tried to give money. (Finite verb) and I have tried to give money. (Nonfinite verb).

Types of Nonfinite Verb

Nonfinite verbs are classified into three types such as:

  • Infinitives
  • Participles
  • Gerunds

Infinitives: Such type of nonfinite verb is considered the “base” form and uses word ‘to’ before them. It functions as noun phrases, or modifiers of nouns. Such as:

  • He needs to go to walk. (Nonfinite verb phrase is ‘to walk’; it is acting as a noun)
  • I do not angry.
  • He made me angry.
  • He tried not to angry.

Participles: This type of nonfinite verb uses ‘-ing’ or ‘-ed’ as suffix. It is used as an adjective modifying the noun. Such as:

  • The sleeping gatekeeper caused a delay. (Nonfinite verb is ‘sleeping’)
  • He is solving my issue.
  • I have solved the problems.
  • Problems were solved.

Gerunds: It appears in positions reserved for nouns. It also ends in ‘-ing’. They typically appear as the subject or object noun phrases. Such as:

  • I like drinking (Here the non-finite verb is ‘drinking’)
  • Drinking milk is good.
  • Jogging is good for health.
  • I have started jogging.

Exercises for you

Nonfinite verb exercises given below will help you in analyzing your knowledge about nonfinite verb. Just go through all the details given above about the nonfinite verb and check your skill by doing following exercises for nonfinite verb. We have used nonfinite verbs in the following sentences; you need to check your skill by identifying nonfinite verbs in each sentence:

  1. Are you reading?
  2. I struggle to live.
  3. He can’t go with her.
  4. He has gone out of station.
  5. Going faster is dangerous for kids.
  6. I do not go to school.
  7. All the teachers have gone away to the university.
  8. I am going in the studio tonight.
  9. Reading is good for mind.
  10. I don’t have time to talk.
  11. I am coming from the market.
  12. I have to go, its urgent.
  13. I want to go market.
  14. Cooking is my favorite hobby.
  15. We were dropped off at the camp.
  16. The freshly cooked cookies are tasty.
  17. I am going with her.
  18. I like going to the swimming.
  19. Doctor suggested me going for a walk daily.
  20. I saw her going up the stairs.
  21. The sleeping watchman is very careless.
  22. I saw a snake going across the river.

Answers: 1 – reading, 2 – to live, 3 – go, 4 – gone, 5 – Going, 6 – go, 7 – gone, 8 – going, 9 – Reading, 10 – to talk, 11 – coming, 12 – go, 13 – go, 14 – Cooking, 15 – dropped, 16 – cooked, 17 – going, 18 – going, 19 – going, 20 – going, 21 – sleeping, 22 – going

Related Information:

Regular Verb
Irregular Verb
Subject-Verb Agreement
Modal Auxiliary Verbs
Intransitive Verbs
Transitive Verbs
Finite Verb
Stative Verb
Dynamic Verb
Auxiliary Verb
Lexical Verb

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