Finite verbs are verbs that carry tense and relate to a subject.
Every sentence typically has at least one verb which is either past or present tense. Such verbs are called ‘finite’. The imperative verb in a command is also finite.
- Lizzie does the dishes every day. [present tense]
- Even Hana did the dishes yesterday. [past tense]
- Do the dishes, Naser! [imperative]
Verbs that are not finite, such as participles or infinitives, cannot stand on their own: they are linked to another verb in the sentence.
Not finite verbs:
- I have done them. [combined with the finite verb have]
- I will do them. [combined with the finite verb will]
- I want to do them! [combined with the finite verb want]
Note that the term finite is applied to a verb to indicate that it carries tense, and also applied to a clause or sentence that contains a finite verb.