A List of Verbs
Finites and Non-finites

This list of verbs gives us all the possible finite verbs and verbals (non-finite verbs) that can be formed from a single verb to eat.

For self-learners of English grammar, help is needed in the form of tables and lists for ready reference. This list is one such resource. The end of this page explains why this list is useful.

A List of Finite Verbs
of the Verb "to eat"

The finite verb phrases may have as helping verbs either primary auxiliaries or modals. Finite verbs are those that are essential in a sentence and have to follow rules of subject-verb agreement and tense.

The Active Forms With Primary Auxiliaries
as Helping Verbs.

  • eat / eats - used in the simple present tense. (Both these verbs use the dummy primary auxiliary 'do' in negative and interrogative (question) sentences.)

  • am / is / are + eating - present continuous tense.
  • has / have + eaten - present perfect tense.
  • has / have + been + eating - present perfect continuous.
  • ate - simple past tense.
  • was / were + eating - past continuous.
  • had + eaten - past perfect.
  • had + been + eating - past perfect continuous.

The Passive Forms With Primary Auxiliaries
as Helping Verbs.

  • am /is / are + eaten - simple present.
  • am / is / are + being + eaten - present continuous.
  • has / have + been + eaten - present perfect.
  • was / were + eaten - simple past.
  • was / were + being + eaten - past continuous.
  • had + been + eaten - past perfect.

The Active Forms Using Modals
as Helping Verbs.

The modals are: can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would, ought to, used to, dare (to), need (to).

In the examples below I have used shall / will to illustrate the finite verb phrases using modals.

Most of the modals above can replace shall / will in the phrases below to give us meaningful English.

  • shall / will + eat
  • shall / will + be + eating
  • shall / will + have + eaten
  • shall / will + have + been + eating

The Passive Forms Based on Modals
as Helping Verbs.

The passive forms are fewer than the active. Here too most of the other modals can replace shall / will.

  • shall / will + be + eaten
  • shall / will + have + been + eaten

A List of Non-finite Verbs (Verbals)

Infinitives, Gerunds and Participles are Non-Finite Verbs. They are not bound by rules of subject-verb agreement and tense.

Infinitive

to eat - infinitive
(as in 'He likes to eat slowly.')

Gerund

eating - gerund
(as in 'Eating too much spoils your health.')

Participles

Three types of Participles...

  • eating - present participle
    (as in 'I saw him eating those mangoes.')

  • eaten - past participle
    (as in 'The sweets eaten just now are a gift from our neighbour.')

  • having eaten - perfect participle
    (as in 'Having eaten the sweets, we decided to send a thank-you note to our neighbour.')

How to Use This List of Verbs?

If you want to know whether the verb 'is writing' is finite or not, search for a similar form in the list. You will see 'is eating' listed as a finite verb. Therefore 'is writing' is a finite verb. If your verb was only 'writing', then it would be a non-finite verb (i.e. gerund or participle in this case).

The Usefulness of This List of Verbs

The List of Verbs, both Finite and Non-finite, is complete.

You will find this list useful for several reasons as you learn English grammar:

  1. Grammar learners sometimes write a non-finite verb in place of a finite verb, as in these examples of incorrect use:

    • *She singing a song. (*asterisk implies grammatically incorrect)
      Correct sentence is: She is/was singing a song.

    • *I seen the marks.
      Correct sentence is: I have/had seen the marks.

    This list of verbs will help those learning English to clearly recognize finite verbs as well as the non-finites (if any) in a sentence.


  2. Identifying the finite verb is necessary, because it is the essential verb in a sentence; non-finites are helpful but not essential for the existence of a sentence.

  3. The subject, object, indirect object, etc are built around the finite verb. The finite verb is like a nucleus of the clause or sentence.

  4. Knowing the exact words in a finite verb phrase helps us to correctly identify the operator (i.e. the first word of a finite verb phrase). This is required because the construction of negative and interrogative (question) sentences have something important to do with the operator.

For Further Reading and Study...


English Grammar
Matters

New Ezine.
Watch this space.

Related Pages

The Study of Verbs

What is a Verb?

List of Verbs

Principal Parts of Verbs


Types of Verbs

Finite Verbs

Non-Finites (Verbals)

Transitive Verbs

Helping Verbs


Verb Tenses

Subject-Verb Agreement