Finite Verb - Meaning, Definition, Usage and Examples

In every language, communication is made possible with the help of safely constructed sentences. As English language learners, all of us know the fact that a sentence requires a subject and a verb to sound complete. There are imperative sentences which do not require a subject. This happens to be an exception. Verbs are divided into two types, namely finite verbs and non-finite verbs, based on their behaviour when placed with a subject in a sentence. In this article, you will be introduced to finite verbs and how they can be used with examples to make them easier for you to understand.

Table of Contents

What Is a Finite Verb?

A finite verb is often the main verb in the sentence, which denotes the primary action done by the subject in a particular context. Finite verbs can be a part of an independent clause or verb phrase that can stand alone in a sentence and still make sense.

Definition of a Finite Verb

According to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary, “a finite verb form or clause shows a particular tense, person and number.” The Collins Dictionary defines a finite verb as “a verb form that distinguishes person, number, and tense, and also mood or aspect, as ‘opens’ in She opens the door.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a finite verb as one that is “of, relating to, or being a verb or verb form that can function as a predicate or as the initial element of one and that is limited (as in tense, person, and number)”.

How to Use Finite Verbs in Sentences?

There are some points you have to keep in mind if you want to use finite verbs accurately.

  • The most important point you have to focus on when working with finite verbs is that they always work with a subject.
  • You have to always make sure that the verb agrees with the subject.
  • Remember that the use of a finite verb can allow the clause to stand by itself as an independent clause.
  • Make sure that you conjugate the finite verb accurately to suit the context in which the action takes place.

Examples of Finite Verbs

Here are a few examples to help you understand how finite verbs are used in sentences.

  • Reena reached home after 7 p.m.

The root verb ‘reach’ is used in its past form and acts as the finite verb in the above sentence.

  • Henry likes to read adventure novels.

In the above sentence, the root verb ‘like’ is used in the third-person singular form to play the role of the finite verb in the sentence. It can also be noted here that ‘Henry likes adventure novels’ is still a complete sentence and makes sense without the infinitive ‘to read’.

  • We had all the South Indian delicacies that were served at the wedding reception on June 8th.

In the above example, “had” is the finite verb.

  • Do you know how to draw an elephant?

In this sentence, the verb ‘know’ used in its simple present form is the finite verb.

  • My child likes singing Hindi songs.

The verb ‘like’, used in the third person singular form, is the finite verb in the above example.

20 Examples of Finite Verbs

Here are 20 examples of finite verbs that you can refer to have a clear idea.

  • I like ice cream.
  • Do you know this guy?
  • Kimmy lives in Spain.
  • We work at the Plaza.
  • Teena needs some money.
  • I do not understand what you are talking about.
  • Mario plays video games.
  • Lintu cooked pasta for breakfast.
  • My dad rides a bike.
  • I have coffee in the morning.
  • We walked through the forest.
  • The boys stood right in front of the park.
  • Little Tom enjoyed the ride.
  • Titus saw an aeroplane.
  • I listen to melodious songs all the time.
  • Henry thanked Jerry for the cake.
  • The dog ran away.
  • Rory took a photo of his new room.
  • Xan lost her cell phone.
  • Ozy is an actor.

Check Your Understanding of Finite Verbs

Identify the finite verbs in the following sentences:

1. The teacher is late to class.

2. The auto stopped abruptly.

3. I bought a new pair of shoes for the trip.

4. My brother loved the movie.

5. I finished the household chores.

6. The plate is empty.

7. Can you try to lift it one more time?

8. Did you read all the chapters of this book?

9. My phone worked properly even after the repair.

10. I took a photo of the bunch of flowers that had bloomed in my garden for the first time.

 

Ready to check if you found the finite verbs in the sentences correctly? Let us find out.

1. The teacher is late to class.

2. The auto stopped abruptly.

3. I bought a new pair of shoes for the trip.

4. My brother loved the movie.

5. I finished all the household chores.

6. The plate is empty.

7. Can you try to lift it one more time?

8. Did you read all the chapters of this book?

9. My phone worked properly even after the repair.

10. I took a photo of the bunch of flowers that had bloomed in my garden for the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions on Finite Verbs in English

What is a finite verb?

A finite verb is often the main verb in the sentence, which denotes the primary action done by the subject in a particular context. Finite verbs can be a part of an independent clause or verb phrase that can stand alone in a sentence and still make sense.

What is the definition of a finite verb?

According to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary, “a finite verb form or clause shows a particular tense, person and number.” The Collins Dictionary defines a finite verb as “a verb form that distinguishes person, number, and tense, and also mood or aspect, as ‘opens’ in She opens the door.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a finite verb as one that is “of, relating to, or being a verb or verb form that can function as a predicate or as the initial element of one and that is limited (as in tense, person, and number)”.

How are finite verbs used?

There are some points you have to keep in mind if you want to use finite verbs accurately.

  • The most important point you have to focus on when working with finite verbs is that they always work with a subject.
  • You have to always make sure that the verb agrees with the subject.
  • Remember that the use of a finite verb can allow the clause to stand by itself as an independent clause.
  • Make sure that you conjugate the finite verb accurately to suit the context in which the action takes place.

Give some examples of finite verbs.

All main verbs can be used as finite verbs. It has to be conjugated in order to represent the right form of the verb/tense that agrees with the subject doing the action in a sentence.
Listening to yesterday was very soothing.

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