What is a Non-Finite Verb? How Do You Use It?

Do you know what a non-finite verb is? This non-finite verb will provide you with all of the information you need on non-finite verbs, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is a non-finite verb?

According to Grammar Monster, non-finite verbs include gerunds or a gerund phrase, infinitives, and participles. Gerunds end in ing and are are nouns formed from verbs. Infinitives are the basic dictionary form of a verb and start with to and are the base form of a verb. Participles can be either present participles that end in ing form or past participles that end in ed form. Nonfinite verbs can be used in the past participle form or perfect forms along with a finite verb.

A finite verb has a subject and shows tense. Every sentence has at least one finite verb, and a finite verb is always one word. A modal auxiliary verb is a finite verb. Finite verbs can be in the present tense form, past tense form, or future tense form. The majority of verbs have the same form for both past tense and past participle. You may find that regular verbs and irregular verbs are conjugated differently. Modal verbs, or verbs with modality, are also finite verbs

Non-finite forms can be affected by modifiers like adverbs just like how a verbal noun or noun phrases can be modified by an adjective in sentence structure. Non-finite verb forms cannot perform action of a sentence as the root of an independent clause. 

What are examples of non-finite verbs?

Non-finite verbs can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or grammatical technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of non-finite verbs from Grammar Monster and Learn English that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use.  Take a look at these non-finite verb examples in the following sentences and see how many you can identify the non-finite verb in!

  •  Imbued during my teens with a sense of doom, I wouldn’t live those days again even if it were possible, but I can’t pretend growing old is sweetness either. (paraphrase of author Ruth Rendell)
  •  It is dangerous to drive on this slippery road.
  •  Art is making something out of nothing and selling it. (Musician Frank Zappa)
  •  Alex saw a spider creating its trap
  •  A flying bird is more watchful than a sitting bird.
  •  I started by photographing birds in my garden.
  •  A stirring dwarf we do allowance give before a sleeping giant. (Playwright William Shakespeare)
  •  We were brought face-to-face with a new animal.
  •  I showed her the best way to make a Yorkshire pudding.
  •  I was skiing when I noticed a direct object in front of me!
  •  Always willing to entertain others’ ideas, Jack is adept at building trust through regular, open and honest communication.
  •  The man paid to win.
  •  Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. (Writer Robert Benchley)
  •  Marshal insisted on taking the bus instead of the train.
  •  Running like a maniac will not solve any problem.
  •  If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
  •  We are ready to play now.
  •  Jack built a metal detector to find gold nuggets.
  •  To win was everything.
  •  Demonstrating level headedness in all business dealings, Jill listens actively and engages appropriately when in disagreement.
  •  We ate a lot of roasted meat.
  •  Being amused, I clapped hard in the theater.
  •  Connected” entirely by canals and footbridges, the Dutch village of Giethoorn has no roads.
  •  Food is an important part of a balanced diet. (Author Fran Lebowitz)
  •  The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets. (Business magnate John Davison Rockefeller)
  •  I needed a sound sleep to calm my mind.
  •  Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. (Biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi)
  •  I do not drink boiled water because of its weird taste.
  •  He saw a sleeping cat yesterday.
  •  The frightened boy jumped over the wall.
  •  Robert is the most wanted player on the team.
  •  He set the camera to film whatever was eating his chickens.
  •  Walking is a habit you should develop from the beginning.
  •  I respect the working disabled people.
  •  Lee likes playing rugby
  •  I like to read books about teenagers.
  •  Let them eat cake. (Queen of France Marie Antoinette)
  •  It is the competition to win.
  •  I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. (Writer Mark Twain)
  •  She needed to find a lot of money quickly.
  •  People want to win. Most people have the will to win, but few have the will to prepare to win. (Basketball coach Bobby Knight)
  •  Sleeping in the afternoon is not healthy at all.
  •  I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me. (Prime Minister Winston Churchill)
  •  They roasted chestnuts because roasted chestnuts were profitable.
  •  It is good to know that you can cook as well.
  •  Shaun gave up smoking a few years ago.
  •  I have completed the given task.
  •  It is great to hear that you and your family are well. 
  •  I was eating beans by candle light for a decade. (Actor Eric Andre)
  •  I felt it difficult to comprehend.
  •  Cleaning teeth with urine was common in Roman times.
  •  Had you finished reading the printed document about the licenses?

Overall, a nonfinite verb is a gerund, ing participle, ed participle, or base form of the verb.


  1. Non-Finite Verbs | Grammar Monster 
  2. Examples of Non-finite Verb | Learn English