April 23, 2005
Introduction to the KISS Workbooks The KISS Homepage

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.)

Subject Swimming is good exercise (PN).
Direct Object They like playing (DO) baseball.
Predicate Noun Theresa's favorite exercise is hiking (PN).
Object of Preposition  Mikie was thinking {of taking a walk}.

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.”