Non-Finites

Verbs can be broadly divided into two categories: Finite verbs and Non-finite verbs.

FINITE VERBS: Finite Verbs are those verbs that have a definite relation with the subject or noun. These verbs are usually the main verb of a clause or sentence and can be changed according to the noun. They are used only in present and past tense. 

NON-FINITES cannot be the main verb of a clause or sentence as they do not talk about the action that is being performed by the subject or noun. They do not indicate any tense, mood or gender. They are used as nouns, adverbs and adjectives. They are also used to form non-finite clauses which are simply dependent clauses that use non-finite verbs. 

Types of Non-Finites

The Infinitive: The infinitive is the first principal part of the verb. It is usually introduced by ‘to’; to sell, to buy, to speak, to write. The ‘sign’ of the infinitive may be omitted after ‘may, can, shall, will, must’ and ‘dare, hear, feel, see, make, bid’. It is seen that the Infinitive does the work of a noun, for it can be the subject of a verb and the object of a transitive verb. So the Infinitive is a verb-noun.

The Participle: A participle is a form of verb that modifies a noun or a noun phrase and thus plays a role identical to that of an adjective and at times, an adverb. The participle is based on verbs and therefore expresses action or state of being. There are two types of participles- present participle and past participle.

Present participle: The participle that is formed from the verb after adding ‘–ing’ at the end is called present participle. It represents an action as going on or an incomplete action or state.

Past participle: A past participle is the third form of verb which works like an adjective. It represents an action or state as completed.

The Gerund: A gerund is a non-finite verb which ends in ‘–ing’ and does the work of both a noun and a verb. The gerund is used like a noun and can be used as a subject of a verb, object of a verb, complement of a verb, the object of a preposition, etc. Gerunds can also be used as an independent clause.

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