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Distinguishing Finite Verbs from Verbals
From the Writing of Ninth Graders
2000-2001 Pennsylvania Writing Assessment Handbook Supplement
Analysis Key

      Remember that the objective of this level is not to have the students learn the various verbals. It is to teach them how to know when these verbs should not be underlined twice.

1. The others relax, sprawling {across teenager beaten chairs and sofas}. |

"The others sprawling" fails the sentence test, as does "teenager beaten chairs and sofas." ["Sprawling" a verbal, a gerundive that modifies "others." Technically, "beaten" is also a gerundive, but it, of course, modifies the "chairs" and "sofas." KISS analysis keys generally ignore gerundives that come before the word they modify because most people will automatically see them as adjectives.]
2. Now, our prestigious community has a beautiful park (DO) {for the children}

      {of our area} to enjoy safely. |

"To enjoy" fails both the "to" and the sentence test--"Children to enjoy safely" is not an acceptable sentence. ["Children" is the subject of the verbal (infinitive) "to enjoy." The infinitive phrase functions as the object of the preposition "for." The prepositional phrase itself can be seen as adjectival to "park" and/or as adverbial to "has."]
3. These activities include picking (DO) up litter, children’s services (DO),

     feeding (DO) the homeless, raising (DO) money {for the community}

     and just having (DO) fun. |

"Picking," "feeding," "raising," and "having" all function as direct objects of "include," so according to the noun test, they cannot be finite verbs. [They are gerunds. "Litter" is the direct object of "picking"; "homeless" is the indirect object of "feeding"; and "money" and "fun" are the direct objects of "raising" and "having." Note the parallelism of the gerunds as direct objects If the student had written "working with children's services," the gerund "working" would have made all five direct objects parallel.]
4. He might raise taxes (DO) {instead of lowering them}. |
"Lowering" functions as the object of the preposition "instead of," so it cannot be a finite verb. [It is a gerund, and "them" is its direct object.]
5. Back a long time [NuA] ago, Thomas Alva Edison had an idea (DO). |

     His idea was to make (PN) an artificial light using electricity {without it being

     {in the flame state}. |

Because the "idea" is equal to "to make," "to make" functions as the core of a predicate noun. Thus it cannot be a finite verb. [It is an infinitive, and "light" is its direct object.]
     "Using" fails the sentence test--"Soneone using electricity" is not a sentence. [It is a gerund that functions as a Noun Used as an Adverb to "to make." Its direct object is "electricity."]
     "It being in the flame state" fails the sentence test, so "being" can not be a finite verb. [At KISS Level 5.8 - Noun Absolutes, students will learn that it can be explained as the gerundive in a noun absolute with "it" as its subject. The noun absolute functions as the object of the preposition "without." The "without" phrase can be viewed either as an adverb to "using" or as an adjective to "electricity."]
6. {With this} {in mind}, I remind you (IO) [DO how Amelia Earhart 

      helped the female community prosper {by taking the risk} {of being

     different}]. |

"The female community prosper" fails the sentence test because for it to be a correct sentence, "prosper" should be "prospers." (Note also that if we substitute a pronoun, it would be "them"--"helped them prosper.") Thus "prosper" is not a finite verb. [It is an infinitive, and "community" is simultaneously the indirect object of "helped" and the subject of "prosper." The infinitive phrase is the direct object of "helped."
     "Taking" and "being" cannot be finite verbs because they function as nouns--the objects of prepositions. [They are gerunds. "Risk" is the direct object of "taking," and "different" is a predicate adjective after "being."]
      (Alternatively, "With this" can be explained as an adjective to "I.")
7. The Internet is a way (PN) to spread information {to the masses}, and to 

     bring people closer together. |

"To spread" and "to bring" both fail the "to" test, so they can not be finite verbs. [They are infinitives that function as adjectives to "way." "Information" is the direct object of "to spread." The direct object of "to bring" is an ellipsed infinitive phrase--"people *to be* closer together." Within that phrase, "people" is the subject and "closer" is a predicate adjective to the ellipsed "to be."]
8. {For example}, some {of the buildings} might have pollution running 

     {into the rivers, creeks, or streams}, or going {into the air}. |

"Pollution running . . . or going . . ." would not pass the sentence test. Thus these two words are verbals. [At KISS Level 4, they can be explained as gerundives that modify "pollution." At KISS Level 5.8, some people will prefer to see "pollution running or going" as the core of a noun absolute that functions as the direct object of "might have."]
9.  Reading and writing have been replaced (P) {with an hour} {in front}

     {of the T.V.} |

Because "Reading" and "writing" function as the subject of "have been replaced," they can not be finite verbs. [They are gerunds. (Note, by the way, that textbooks often state that the meaningful subjects of passive verbs are expressed in prepositional phrases with "by." This sentence shows that the preposition "with" is also used for this purpose--"An hour in front of the T.V. has replaced reading and writing.")]
10. There's also a radio (PN) to listen to to keep you {from not being bored

     or even falling asleep}. |

"To listen" and "to keep" both fail the "to" test, so they can not be finite verbs. ["You" is the direct object of the infinitive "to keep." That infinitive phrase functions as an adverb of purpose in the infinitive phrase "to listen to." The "to listen to" phrase functions as an adjective to "radio."]
     "You being bored or even falling asleep" fails the sentence test, so "being," "bored," and "falling" can not be finite verbs. ["Being" and "falling" are gerunds that function as the objects of the preposition "from." "Bored" is a gerundive that functions as a predicate adjective after "being."]