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

The Three Tests 
to Distinguish Finite Verbs from Verbals

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.)

The "To" Test

     A finite verb phrase cannot begin with "to." Thus in "Bob went to his room to do his homework," "to do" is not a finite verb.  (Do not underline it twice.)

The Sentence Test

       The last way to distinguish finite verbs from verbals is the simple sentence test. If you are not sure about whether or not to underline a verb twice:

1. Find the subject of that verb.
2. Make a simple sentence using that subject and verb -- without adding any words, and without changing the form or meaning of the verb.
3. If the sentence does not seem to be an acceptable sentence, the verb is not finite.