Non Finite Verb
Non-finite verbs are those that do not change according to tense, person and the number of a sentence. In contrast a finite verb changes according to person, number, and tense of a sentence. Basically, non-finite verbs are infinitive forms with and without 'to', gerund (-'ing' forms), and participle forms without auxiliary verbs before them.
Note: Non-finite verbs do not serve as action verbs in a sentence. They are different.
There are three forms of non-finite verbs:
The infinitive verbs are the basic form of a verb that do not serve as an action of a sentence. On the contrary, they express an action as an idea or concept and are always preceded by 'to'. The details of infinitives are given below through examples:
Look at the below sentences:
In the above sentences, 'to go' and 'to find' are infinitive forms.
Now look at the below sentences:
Note: Through the above sentences, it is clear that the infinitive is a verb-noun.
Sometimes we also used infinitive without 'to' after certain verbs (bid, let, make, need, dare, see, hear).
The infinitive without 'to' is also used after the modal verbs; will, would, shall, may, might, can, could, and must.
Without 'to' infinitives can also be used after had better, had rather, would rather, would rather, sooner than, rather than; as
Uses of Infinitives
The infinitive, with or without adjuncts, may be used as a noun-
1. As the subject of a verb
To find fault is easy.
To err is human.
To reign is worth ambition.
2. As the object of a transitive verb
They do not mean to play.
Sohan likes to play Cricket.
3. As the complement of a verb
Her greatest pleasure is to write.
His custom is to worship daily.
4. As the object of a preposition
He had no choice but (except) to go.
The speaker is about to conclude.
5. As an objective complement
I saw him come.
Note: When the infinitive is used, like a noun, it is called the simple infinitive.
Some more uses of infinitives
To qualify a verb, usually to express purpose; as,
He called to visit the school ( for the purpose of visiting the school).
We eat to live. (Purpose)
I came to meet my friend. (Purpose)
He wept to see the disaster caused by the earthquake. (Cause)
To qualify an Adjective; as,
Bananas are good to eat.
This medicine is bitter to take.
The students are curious to learn.
John is too lazy to do any work.
To qualify a noun; as,
This is not the time to sleep.
You will have cause to repent.
He is a boy to be praised.
Here is a house to rent.
This house is to let.
To qualify a sentence; as,
To tell the truth, I quite forget my promise.
He was petrified, so to speak.
The infinitive may be active or passive. When it is active, it is in a present or a perfect form and merely names the act, or it can represent progressive or continued action.
Present: to write
Present continuous: to be writing
Perfect: to have written
Perfect continuous: to have been writing
In passive, the infinitive has a present and a perfect form.
Present: to be written
Perfect: to have been written
When V1+ing is used as a subject or an object (noun), it is called a gerund.
As an object:
Both the gerund and the infinitive have the force of a noun and a verb and have the same uses. Thus in many sentences, either of them may be used without any special difference in meaning; as,
There are also compound gerunds which are formed by placing a past participle after the gerunds of 'have' and 'be'.
A transitive verb also has the gerund forms:
Perfect: having written
Present: being written
Perfect: having been written
Gerund and present participle both end with '-ing', but there are differences
The gerund has the force of a noun and a verb; it is a Verbal noun.
The present participle has the force of an adjective and a verb; it is a verbal adjective.
Gerund as an ordinary noun:
Note: 'the' is used before and 'of' after it.
Some more examples are given below:
Some compound nouns as:
Walking stick, frying pan, hunting whip, fencing- stick, writing-table
(Here walking, frying, hunting, fencing, writing are gerunds)
The meaning of that compound nouns are
A stick for walking, a pan for frying, a whip for hunting, etc
Before gerund, either the possessive case or the objective case of the noun or pronoun can be used before gerunds.
Note: Above both sentences are correct. The possessive is more formal, and it is less usual in everyday speech.
Some more such examples are below:
Uses of the Gerund
Being a verb-noun, a gerund may be used as:
i). Subject of a verb
Seeing is believing.
Hunting tigers is not allowed in our country.
ii) Object of a transitive verb
Children love making mud castles.
I like writing novels.
He contemplated marrying his cousin.
iii) Object of a preposition
I am tired of walking.
He is fond of reading.
They were punished for telling a lie.
He was distracted from watching the cartoon.
I have an aversion to fishing.
iv) Complement of a verb
Seeing is believing.
What I most hate is smoking.
Playing cards being his aversion, we did not play bridge.
3. The participle
In a sentence, a participle functions partly as a verb and partly as an adjective.
Some examples of present participles are:
Note: Above all, sentences end with '-ing' and express the actions as going on or incomplete or imperfect. Therefore they are present participle.
Past participle expresses a complete action or state of the thing spoken of.
Some examples of past participle:
Note: Above all sentences are ending with -ed, -d, -t, -en, and -n. so they are past participle.
Apart from these two present and past participle, there is also perfect participle. The perfect participle expresses an action completed in some past time.
Some important facts about participle
A participle can function as a verbal adjective, so it is called a verbal adjective.
It can function as a verb and govern a noun or pronoun; like,
A participle like a verb can be modified by an adverb; like,
A participle can qualify a noun or pronoun like an adjective; like,
When a past participle is used as an adjective, it is passive in meaning
A spent swimmer
A burnt child
A painted doll
When a present participle is used as an adjective, it is active in meaning
A child who is burnt
A swimmer who is tired out
A doll which is painted
Uses of the participle
If the present participle is with the 'be' form of the verb, it forms the continuous tenses (active voice)
If the past participle is with the 'have' form of the verb, it forms the perfect tenses (active voice)
If the past participle is with the 'be' form of the verb, the passive voice is formed
The participles that qualify nouns or pronouns can be used severely like;
With noun and pronoun going before; like
Note: In the above sentences, the participle going before the noun and pronoun forms an independent phrase that is called an absolute phrase.
The absolute phrase can be changed into a subordinate clause
There are also some errors in the use of participles like;
Note: The above sentences are incorrect because the participle is left without proper agreement. These sentences should be rewritten as given below;
In some sentences, the participle is understood.