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What's a finite verb? It's not just the opposite of an infinitive, is it? Can I get some examples?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Thinking of a finite verb as the opposite of an infinitive isn't a bad way to start, actually.

The core definition of a finite verb is one that is inflected for person and tense. Typically only finite verbs can act as the main verb of a sentence. In the following examples, the italicized verbs are finite:

I wanted to go to the store.

The girls were talking to each other loudly.

A child has gone missing.

However, the bolded segments above, while part of the verb phrase, are non-finite verbs. The first is an infinitive, the second is a present participle, and the third is a past participle, these being the primary forms of non-finite verbs in English. If you remove the finite verb from all of the sentences above you no longer have a complete sentence.

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Answer:A1 Definitions:A1 Examples:A1 –  FumbleFingers Apr 8 '11 at 2:23
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Another quick definition could be a verb that normally requires a subject and agrees with it in number. –  Cerberus Apr 8 '11 at 4:09
    
As a bit of a special case, verbs used in imperatives are considered finite, even though they doesn't inflect for person or tense, require a subject, or agree with it in number. –  Jason Orendorff Apr 8 '11 at 14:00
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@Jason, imperatives in most languages do, in fact, agree in number and often indicate tense. English is something of a special case, since our imperatives take a zero marker for number and do not include a past (or future) imperative. –  JSBձոգչ Apr 8 '11 at 14:10

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 19 '12 at 20:36

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