What Are Finite Verbs? (with Examples)

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What Are Finite Verbs? (with Examples)

A finite verb is a verb which has a subject and shows tense. In short, it is a verb being a verb (i.e., a doing word) as opposed to a verbal (which is another part of speech formed from a verb).

Examples of Finite Verbs

Every sentence needs a finite verb. Look at these examples (with the finite verbs shaded):
  • He painted the fence.
  • (In this example, painted is a finite verb.)
  • He varnished the painted fence.
  • (In this example, painted is a verbal. It's actually a participle from the verb to paint, which is being used as an adjective. A verbal is another name for a non-finite verb.)
Here are some more examples:
  • You promised me the last ticket.
  • I am excited about going to the amusement park.
  • I went for a walk around the park.
  • Everyone wanted to go to the amusement park, but we only had four tickets.
  • On that dark day, the spirits rose from their graves to feast upon the living.
  • In that moment, it all became clear that the amusement park was a trap.

Finite Verbs Test

Below is a quick test on finite verbs.

(There are lots more grammar tests here.)
Click on the finite verbs:


The best way to find a finite verb is by eliminating it as a non-finite verb. So, check: Look at this example:
  • He likes painting and wants to paint the painted fence.
In this example, the following look a bit like verbs:

To Paint

Let's run a check over them:

Painting is a noun formed from the verb to paint. (These are called gerunds. The big giveaway is the -ing ending.)

To paint is the infinitive form of the verb to paint. (The big giveaway is the word to in front.)

Painted is the past participle (being used as an adjective). (A giveaway is the -ed ending.)

That just leaves likes and wants. They are both finite verbs in this example.