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Exercise # 6 Based on
The Tale of Johnny Town Mouse by Beatrix Potter
Is It a Finite Verb?
Analysis Key

     This is probably an extremely difficult exercise for primary school children. Remember that the objective of this exercise is not to teach students about verbals, but rather to help them realize what is, and what is not, a finite verb. Verbals themselves are the subject of KISS Level Four.

1. Sometimes {on Saturdays} he went to look {at the hamper} lying {by the gate}. |

Since "to look" immediately follows "went," at this KISS Level, I would accept "went to look" as a finite verb, but technically "to look" is an infinitive that functions as an adverb of purpose to "went." If we ask "What was lying by the gate?", the answer is "hamper, but "hamper lying by the gate" is not an acceptable sentence, and thus "lying" is not a finite verb. [It is a gerundive that modifies "hamper."]
2. Several times [NuA] they had come tumbling in, squeaking and laughing. |
Some grammarians will probably consider "tumbling" as part of the finite verb; others won't. [Try finding this in most grammar books.] If one considers "tumbling" to be part of the finite verb, then an argument can be made that "squeaking" and "laughing" are also, but they (as well as "tumbling") can also be explained as gerundives that modify "they."
3. He knew better (DO) than to get in again. |
This is another one that is rarely, if ever, discussed in most grammar textbooks. "Better" sounds strange as a noun, but it certainly functions as one here. "To get" cannot be a finite verb since it begins with "to." [It is an infinitive that functions as the object of the preposition "than," and the prepositional phrase modifies "better."]
4. An excellent breakfast was provided  (P) {for mice} accustomed to eat bacon. |
The subject of "accustomed" is "mice" and "mice accustomed to eat bacon" is not an acceptable sentence. Thus "accustomed to eat" should not be underlined twice. ["Accustomed" is a gerundive that modifies "mice," and "to eat" is an infinitive that modifies "accustomed." "Bacon" is the direct object of "to eat.]
5. Timmy Willie sat {by his burrow} warming his little fur coat and sniffing the

smell {of violets and spring grass}. |

"Timmy Willie warming .. and sniffing ...." is not an acceptable sentence so, from this perspective, "warming" and "sniffing" are not finite verbs. [They are gerundives that modify "Timmy Willie." An argument can be made that "sat warming... and sniffing ...." is a palimpsest pattern, but this is an advanced explanation.] "Coat" is the direct object of "warming," and "smell" is the direct object of "sniffing."