Non-finite Verbs: The Infinitive, the Gerund, and the Participle

Non-finite Verbs: The Infinitive, the Gerund, and the Participle

Non-finite Verbs: The infinitive, the gerund, and the participial are the three types of non-finite verbs. No sentence is complete without verbs; hence, we communicate our views with the help of verbs. Students are taught verbs as the basic unit of understanding English Grammar, and the use of the verb is the beginning of learning the language. Then, what is a non-finite verb? Is it the same as the main verb, or does it have a different meaning and function? What do mean by the finite, the Gerund, and the Participle? You will get the answer to all the above questions in the article “Non-finite Verbs: The Infinitive, the Gerund, and the Participle”.

Non-finite Verbs: The Infinitive, the Gerund, and the Participle

Non-finite Verbs are not the normal verbs that we use in sentences. They can be used in different ways, like the infinitive, the gerund, and the participle.

Definition of Non-finite Verb

A non-finite verb is “an infinitive or a participle and has no tense”, according to the Collins Dictionary. The Oxford Learners’ Dictionary defines a non-finite verb as “a verb form or clause does not show a particular tense, person or number”.

The Advanced Oxford Learners’ Dictionary defines a non-finite verb as “a verb form or clause that does not show a particular tense, person or number”.

The Infinitive

Read the following sentences:

  • You want to go.
  • They always try to find fault with others.

Here, to go and to find are infinite.

Let us understand the infinite with the help of the following examples:

  • To err is human. ( the infinitive is the Subject of the verb ‘is’.)
  • Birds love to fly.( the infinitive is the Object)
  • To respect our elders is our sole duty. ( Subject of the verb)
  • Mahesh refused to obey the officer’s orders. ( Object of the verb refused)
  • Some people desire to make money by unethical means. ( Object of the verb desire)

Generally, the word “to” is used, but it’s not an essential part of the infinitive. The following are some verbs where “to” is not used:

Non-finite Verbs without “To”

Note: Bid, let, bade, make, need, dare, see, and hear are some verbs where ‘to’ can’t be used before them to form the infinitive.


  • I bade her go.
  • Let them sit there.
  • She will not let him leave the house.
  • make them stand.
  • We made them swim.
  • He need not come today.
  • She need not do it.
  • She dare not do it.
  • Sita saw him do it.
  • The Principal heard him cry.

Note:  “To” is also not used before will, would, can, could, may, might, shall, and should.

  • You will pay the money.
  • She should work hard.
  • He can speak three languages.
  • You must attend school tomorrow.
Note:  “To” is also not used before had better, had rather, would rather, sooner than, rather than.

Types of Participles

There are three types of participles.

  1. Present Participle
  2. Past Participle
  3. Perfect Participle

1. The Present Participle

Read the following sentences:

  • I met a boy carrying an Apple laptop.
  • Shouting at the threshold, she demanded admission.
  • The old man, thinking all was safe, attempted to cross the road.
  • He rushed into the ground, and foremost fighting fell.
  • He went away weeping.
  • They rushed out shouting.
  • She entered the classroom laughing.
  • Seeing the police, the thief ran away.
  • Taking his book, he went out.

In the above sentences, Present Participle is used and the action is going on, incomplete, or imperfect and the words end with-ing.

2. Past Participle

1. Continuous Tenses [Active Voice] are formed from the Present participle:

  • I am playing; I was playing; I shall be playing.

2. Perfect Tenses( Active Voices) are formed from Past Participle:

  • I am loved; I was playing; I shall have played.

3. Participles qualify nouns or pronouns and are used attributively, predicatively, and absolutely:


  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
  • Her tattered shirt needs mending.
  • A lost opportunity never returns.


  • The woman seems worried.
  • The principal kept me waiting.

Difference between Finite Verbs and Non- Finite Verbs


  1. Finite verbs HAVE TENSE.
  2. Finite verbs: V1, V2, V3


  1. Non-finite verbs DO NOT HAVE TENSE
  2. Non-finite verbs THE infinitive, present participle, or past participle form.


HBSE Class 10 English Exercises Non-finite Verbs: Check Your Understanding

Students should practice the following exercises to understand the Non- Finite verbs:

  1. She was fined for being late………… (come)
  2. He did nothing but……….(laugh).
  3. He was too drunk……..(to drive) home.
  4. Could you………me please? (help)
  5. He was happy………..(see) me.
  6. It’s no use……(cry) ove spilt milk.
  7. Let hom…..(go) now.
  8. His aim was ……(get) a gold medal.
  9. You had better……(stay) home.
  10. She is fond of………..(make) stories.
  11. I do not know how …….(swim).
  12. He is rich enough……(buy) a car.
  13. It is no use……..(wait) for her.
  14. He is too weak ……..(walk).
  15. It is easy……(find) fault with others.
  16. My grandmother dislikes…….(use) face powder.
  17. I am sorry …..(disturb) you.
  18. I let him…..(read) the book.
  19. I was heard….(sing) a song.
  20. Please stop……(talk).
Frequently Asked Questions on Non-finite Verbs
What do mean by a non-finite verb?
What is the difference between a finite verb and a non-finite verb?
What is Gerund?
What is the participle?

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