What Is Finite Verb? Definitions, Rules & Examples

In the study of English grammar, it is essential to understand the concept of a finite verb. A finite verb is a verb that indicates tense and subject agreement in a sentence. It is a fundamental element of grammar that plays a crucial role in constructing grammatically correct sentences. In this article, we will discuss the definition of finite verbs, the rules governing their use, and provide examples to help you understand the concept better.

What is a Finite Verb?

A finite verb is a verb that is used to indicate tense and subject agreement in a sentence. It is called finite because it has a specific form that is limited by the number and person of the subject. It is also known as a main verb, as it is the primary verb that conveys the meaning of the sentence. Finite verbs are used to express action or state of being in a sentence.

What Is Finite Verb Definitions, Rules & Examples

Finite Verb Examples:

  • She runs every morning.
  • He has finished his work.
  • They will go to the beach tomorrow.

Rules of Finite Verbs:

  1. Finite verbs must agree in number and person with the subject of the sentence.
  2. In the present tense, the third-person singular verb takes an -s or -es ending.
  3. In the past tense, regular verbs take -ed ending while irregular verbs have different forms.
  4. The auxiliary verb is used to form the negative and interrogative sentences.
  5. The verb in a subordinate clause must be in the finite form.

Finite Verb Examples with Rules:

  1. Agreement in number and person:

  • She runs every morning. (Third-person singular subject takes third-person singular verb)
  • They run every morning. (Third-person plural subject takes third-person plural verb)
  1. Third-person singular verb ending:

  • He likes to read books. (Third-person singular subject takes -s ending)
  • She passes the exam. (Third-person singular subject takes -es ending)
  1. Past tense verb forms:

  • I walked to the park. (Regular verb takes -ed ending)
  • She ate pizza for lunch. (Irregular verb has a different form)
  1. Negative and interrogative sentences:

  • He does not like coffee. (Auxiliary verb ‘do’ is used to form negative sentence)
  • Do you like pizza? (Auxiliary verb ‘do’ is used to form interrogative sentence)
  1. Verb in a subordinate clause:

  • She said that she would come. (Verb ‘would come’ is in finite form in the subordinate clause)

Types of Finite Verbs:

  1. Simple finite verb: It consists of a single verb. Example: She walks to school.
  2. Compound finite verb: It consists of a main verb and one or more auxiliary verbs. Example: She is walking to school.
  3. Modal finite verb: It is used to express necessity, ability, or possibility. Example: He can swim very well.


  1. What is the difference between finite and non-finite verbs? Finite verbs indicate tense and subject agreement in a sentence, while non-finite verbs do not indicate tense or subject agreement.
  2. Is “is” a finite verb? Yes, “is” is a finite verb as it is a main verb that indicates tense and subject agreement.
  3. Can a sentence have more than one finite verb? Yes, a sentence can have more than one finite verb in a compound sentence or a complex sentence.


In conclusion, understanding the concept of finite verbs is essential in constructing grammatically correct sentences. It is a fundamental element of English grammar and is necessary for effective communication in both spoken and written forms. By following the rules of finite verbs and using them appropriately, you can express yourself more clearly and effectively in English. It is also important to distinguish between finite and non-finite verbs and understand the different types of finite verbs, such as simple, compound, and modal finite verbs. With the examples provided in this article, you can improve your understanding of finite verbs and become more confident in using them correctly in your writing and speaking. So next time you come across a sentence, try to identify the finite verb and its function in the sentence.

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