Every sentence needs a verb and subject to make complete sense. And we know that verbs are the words that help us describe what someone or something does. They are a core unit that is very important to convey a complete thought or an idea.
In English grammar, a verb is either finite or Non-finite in nature. In this post, we will learn what finite verbs mean and why do verbs need to be finite in a sentence to complete it.
By definition, finite verbs are the verbs that have a subject and indicate a tense. In short, the finite verb is the main verb of a sentence. That means they are the root words that help complete and make sense of an entire sentence.
Let us discuss in detail with examples to learn more.
What are finite verbs?
Finite verbs are the key words that drive the other part of a sentence and complete it. They are the verbs that have a subject and are marked in a tense. Almost all sentences have finite verbs. Because every sentence needs to have a subject and a verb that has an agreement with the subject and shows a tense, which can be either past or present.
Usually, when there is a single verb in a sentence, that verb is called a finite verb. That means finite verbs can stand alone in a sentence and still make sense. And when there is more than one verb in a sentence, then the one closest to the subject of the sentence is called the finite verb.
Let us try to get a better idea with some examples.
- I danced the whole night.
- Sarah cooked food for her family tonight.
- Noah is a teacher.
Here, as we can see, all the verbs are marked in a tense, either past or present. The verbs also have a subject that has an agreement. Since all the categories are satisfied, we can say that the verbs mentioned in the sentences are finite verbs.
Finite verbs can be any type of verb. It can be an action verb or a helping verb and can appear in both independent and dependent clauses. So, all verbs can be finite verbs as long as they fulfill all the requirements of being one.
Difference between finite verbs and non-finite verbs
While learning finite verbs, it is important to distinguish them from non-finite verbs to grasp their meaning better.
So, a non-finite verb is the one that is the complete opposite of finite verbs. It does not have a subject and shows no tense. But the main difference between them is that a finite verb is one that can act in an independent clause, but a non-finite verb cannot stand alone and is always present in a dependent clause.
The girl ran to the bus stop to catch the bus.
Here, ran is a finite verb because it has a subject and is marked in the past tense. But the word catch does not have a subject, and it depends on the main verb to make complete sense. Hence, it is a non-finite verb.
So, we have finite verbs that almost appear in every sentence as the main verb and non-finite verbs that depend on the finite verbs.