There are two kinds of verbs: finite verbs and nonfinite verbs.
The finite verb changes with the person and number of the subject. It has the present or past form. This means finite verb has tenses. Every sentence must have a finite verb. The following table shows an example of finite verbs:
|First Person||I eat||We eat|
|Second Person||You eat||You eat|
|Third Person||He eats||They eat|
|She eats||They eat|
|It eats||They eat|
The verb eat in the above table is a finite verb because it changes with the person and number of the subject. When it is used with the third and singular person, the verb changes to eats.
The nonfinite verb does not change to reflect singular or plural or tenses. It comes in different form as the following table shows:
|Finite verb||Nonfinite verb|
|-s form||eats, laughs, runs||-ing form||eating, running, using|
|Present tense||eat, laugh, run||Infinitive||(to) eat, (to) run, (to) use|
|Past tense||ate, laughed, ran||Past participle||eaten, run, used|
As is seen from the table 2, the nonfinite verb does not have tenses. It has the ending in –ing form, infinitive form and past participle form.
- Ending in –ing form: I saw her feeding rabbits.
- Infinitive form: To talk with your mouth full is not a nice thing to do.
- Past participle form: The prehistoric artifact stolen from the museum was never recovered.