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Finiteness

Finiteness

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Published by ClassOf1.com
A finite verb in English agrees with the subject (in the present tense) and indicates present or past. Its subject has nominative case, which can only be seen in the case of pronouns in Modern English, i.e. the subject pronoun of finite verbs must be nominative I, you, he, she, it, we and they, not accusative me, him, her, us or them
A finite verb in English agrees with the subject (in the present tense) and indicates present or past. Its subject has nominative case, which can only be seen in the case of pronouns in Modern English, i.e. the subject pronoun of finite verbs must be nominative I, you, he, she, it, we and they, not accusative me, him, her, us or them

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Published by: ClassOf1.com on Nov 15, 2013
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11/15/2013

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Subject: English
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The Homework solutions from Classof1 are intended to help students understand the approach to solving the problem and not for submitting the same in lieu of their academic submissions for grades.
Finiteness
 A finite verb in English agrees with the subject (in the present tense) and indicates present or past. Its subject has nominative case, which can only be seen in the case of pronouns in Modern English, i.e. the subject pronoun of finite verbs must be nominative I, you, he, she, it, we and they, not accusative me, him, her, us or them (you and it are both nominative and accusative). Finite sentences have a Verb Group with a finite verb as its first (or only) member. In (1), have is the finite  verb that makes the entire Verb Group finite. As a result, the entire sentence is also finite:
(1)
 
 I [have been going] there frequently. (finite have in a VGP)
Have is finite because it shows subject agreement (have rather than has, as in (2)), indicates present tense (have rather than had, as in (3)), and has a nominative subject (I rather than me, as in the ungrammatical (4)): (2)
 He has been going there frequently.
 (3)
 He had been going there frequently.
(4)
*Me have been going there frequently.
Note that in some varieties of English, sentences such as (4) are grammatical. Modals, as in (5), are finite even though (for historical reasons) they never display subject-verb agreement: (5)
 I might have done that.
 Only finite sentences are complete sentences. Most of us, however, use fragments in informal speech, in poetry, e.g. John Keats in the excerpt in (6), or even in formal writing: (6)
Ode on a Grecian Urn
Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness!
 
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
 
Subject: English
*
The Homework solutions from Classof1 are intended to help students understand the approach to solving the problem and not for submitting the same in lieu of their academic submissions for grades.
 What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Nevertheless, incomplete sentences are generally frowned upon in formal writing. Sentence (7)  below is not a complete sentence but is a sentence fragment. How can it be fixed? (7)
 Mentioning that point about finite sentences yesterday.
Sentence (7) can become a full sentence by adding a subject and a finite verb as in (8): (8)
 I was mentioning that point about finite sentences yesterday.
It is always a good idea to count the number of lexical verbs. For instance, how many lexical verbs are there in (9)? (9)
 I have heard her sing too often.
In (9), there are two lexical verbs, heard and sing, but only the first Verb Group is finite since have is finite (e.g. the subject of have is nominative I). The Verb Group that sing is the sole member of is non-finite since its subject is accusative her. Other sentences that include a non-finite Verb Group are (10) and (10), with the non-finite Verb Groups in bold. Note that the infinitive marker to is part
of the Verb Group, and is abbreviated as ‘inf ’:
 (10)
 Seeing the ordinary as extraordinary is something we all like to do.

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