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Non-finite Verbs

Non-finite Verbs are of three types:

  • Infinitive
  • Gerund
  • Participle

An infinitive: is a non-finite verb that expresses an action. It is mostly preceded by the preposition to are not preceded by “to”. All infinitive such infinitive are known as “bow” infinitive. A gerund is a verb noun. It is a verb used as a noun, as objector object. A participle is a verb-adjective. It is a verb used as a participle, as a part of a subject or object.
Participle is of three kinds:

  • Present Participle (verb + ing)
  • Past Participle (verb + ed)
  • Perfect Participle (verb + ed/en)


  • It is easy to dance on this stage. (Infinitive with “to”)
  • This an example bare infinitive. (Perfect Participle)
  • It is easy dancing on this stage. (Gerund)
  • A speeding scooter hit the old pedestrian. (Present Participle)

The Infinitive

The root form of the verb is called Infinitive. It is not limited by the number and person of the subject. Such as be, have, go or sleep etc. It is often used with to before it.

Kinds of Infinitive: Infinitives are of two kinds:

(a) The Noun Infinitive
(b) Gerundial Infinitive

The Noun Infinitive: The Noun Infinitive or Simple Infinitive is used 

  • To sleep is good for health.
  • I like to play chess.

Gerundial Infinitive or Qualifying Infinitive

  • I have no horse to sell.
  • This book is good to read.

Infinitive Without “to” or “bare” Infinitive is Used:

  • I saw her dance.
  • You must help me do this sum.

But in passive voice to infinitive is used (to be + to infinitive) as,

  • She was seen to dance.
  • He was bidden to sing.

After Modals and some Auxiliary verbs (do, does, did) as,

  • I do not take tea.
  • You must leave this place.

After would rather, had better, had rather, rather than, sooner than, than, but as,

  • He would rather die than steal.
  • She could do nothing but weep.

The Gerund

A Gerund is that form of verb which ends in “ing” and has the force of a Noun and a Verb. So, it is called a Verbal Noun.

Use of the Gerund

Subject of a Verb

  • Sleeping is necessary for health.

Object of a verb

  • Start marching ahead.

Object of a preposition

  • Children are fond of playing.

Complement of a verb

  • His weakness is drinking.

As case in Apposition

  • It is no use running after shadows.


A participle is a non-finite verb-form that is used in compound forms of verbs or as an adjective. So, participles are called Verbal Adjectives also.
(a) The Present Participle
Present Participle is formed by adding ‘ing’ to the first form of a verb. It is used:

For forming continuous Tenses

  • I am reading a novel.

As an Adjective

  • Barking dogs seldom bite.

As a complement of a subject after a verb

  • The exercise was tiring.

(b) The Past Participles
The Past Participle is another name of verb. It expresses a perfect action as an Adjective. It is always passive in form.

  • A burnt child dreads the fire. (as an adjective)
  • The patient left the hospital cured. (as an adverb)

(C) Perfect Participle

We use Perfect Participle to express that the first action is complete and the second action starts only after the completion of the first one; as,

  • Having fed the cow, he milked her.
  • The sun having risen, we returned home.
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