A finite verb is a verb
that is inflected
and for tense
according to the rules and categories of the languages
in which it occurs. Finite verbs can form independent
clauses, which can stand by their own as complete
The finite forms of a verb are the forms where the verb
shows tense, person or singular plural. Non-finite verb
forms have no person, tense or number.
I go, she goes, he went - These verb forms are finite.
To go, going, gone - These verb forms are non-finite.
In most Indo-European
languages, every grammatically complete sentence or
must contain a finite verb; sentence fragments not containing
finite verbs are described as phrases
or minor sentences. In Latin
and some Romance
languages, however, there are a few words that can
be used to form sentences without verbs, such as Latin
voici and voila, and Italian
ecco, all of these translatable as here ...
is or here ... are. Some interjections
can play the same role. Even in English, a sentence like
Thanks for your help! has an interjection where
it could have a subject
and a finite verb form (compare I appreciate your help!).
In English, as in most related languages, only verbs
in certain moods
are finite. These include:
- the indicative
mood (expressing a state of affairs); e.g., "The bulldozer
demolished the restaurant," "The leaves were yellow
- the imperative
mood (giving a command).
- the subjunctive
mood (expressing something that might or might not be
the state of affairs, depending on some other part of
Verb forms that are not