Distinguishing Finite Verbs from Verbals
Thus far we have been looking at the verbs that form clauses and sentences. Some verbs, however, function as nouns, adjectives or adverbs. The verbs that form sentences are called “finite.” These are the verbs that you should underline twice. The verbs that function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs are called “verbals.” You should not underline these verbs twice. The objective of this section is to help you understand which verbs to underline and which not to. Three tests will help you with this.
1. The Noun Test
A verb that functions as a
noun (a subject, a complement, or the object of a preposition) is not a
finite verb. (Do not underline it twice.)
Note that verbals, like all verbs, can have complements. Thus “baseball” is the direct object of “playing,” and “walk” is the direct object of “taking.”