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Lecture Eight Non-finite Verbs

Teaching hours: 2
Teaching aims:
1. The students will be able to know the basic concepts: gerunds and present participles and the
infinitives.
2. The students will master the basic functions of gerunds and present participles and the
infinitives.
Key points of teaching: the form, nature, function of non-finite verbs; passive voice, perfect and
continuous tense; absolute construction of V-ing form; diverse meanings between infinitive V-
ing form used as ob!ects.
Teaching contents:
I. What is a non-finite verb
"n linguistics, a non-finite verb #or a verbal$ is a verb form that is not limited b% a sub!ect; and
more generall%, it is not full% inflected b% categories. & non-finite verb can not be used as the
predicate in a sentence. 'on-finite verbs cannot be main verbs b% themselves. The infinitive and
present and past participles are the non-finite parts of a verb; To do; doing; done
II. Infinitives
&n infinitive is a verbal consisting of the word to plus a verb #in its simplest (stem( form$ and
functioning as a noun, ad!ective, or adverb. The term verbal indicates that an infinitive, like the
other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb and therefore e)presses action or a state of being.
*owever, the infinitive ma% function as a sub!ect, direct ob!ect, sub!ect complement, ad!ective, or
adverb in a sentence. &lthough an infinitive is eas% to locate because of the to + verb form,
deciding what function it has in a sentence can sometimes be confusing.
To wait seemed foolish when decisive action was re,uired. #sub!ect$
-ver%one wanted to go. #direct ob!ect$
*is ambition is to fl%. #sub!ect complement$
*e lacked the strength to resist. #ad!ective$
.e must stud% to learn. #adverb$
/e sure not to confuse an infinitive0a verbal consisting of to plus a verb0with a prepositional
phrase beginning with to, which consists of to plus a noun or pronoun and an% modifiers.
"nfinitives: to fl%, to draw, to become, to enter, to stand, to catch, to belong
1repositional 1hrases: to him, to the committee, to m% house, to the mountains, to us, to this
address
&n "nfinitive 1hrase is a group of words consisting of an infinitive and the modifier#s$ and2or
#pro$noun#s$ or noun phrase#s$ that function as the actor#s$, direct ob!ect#s$, indirect ob!ect#s$, or
complement#s$ of the action or state e)pressed in the infinitive, such as:
.e intended to leave earl%.
The infinitive phrase functions as the direct ob!ect of the verb intended.
to leave #infinitive$
earl% #adverb$
" have a paper to write before class.
The infinitive phrase functions as an ad!ective modif%ing paper.
to write #infinitive$
before class #prepositional phrase as adverb$
1hil agreed to give me a ride.
The infinitive phrase functions as the direct ob!ect of the verb agreed.
to give #infinitive$
me #indirect ob!ect of action e)pressed in infinitive$
a ride #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in infinitive$
The% asked me to bring some food.
The infinitive phrase functions as the direct ob!ect of the verb asked.
me #actor or (sub!ect( of infinitive phrase$
to bring #infinitive$
some food #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in infinitive$
-ver%one wanted 3arol to be the captain of the team.
The infinitive phrase functions as the direct ob!ect of the verb wanted.
3arol #actor or (sub!ect( of infinitive phrase$
to be #infinitive$
the captain #sub!ect complement for 3arol, via state of being e)pressed in infinitive$
of the team #prepositional phrase as ad!ective$
&ctors: "n these last two e)amples the actor of the infinitive phrase could be roughl% characteri4ed
as the (sub!ect( of the action or state e)pressed in the infinitive. "t is somewhat misleading to use
the word sub!ect, however, since an infinitive phrase is not a full clause with a sub!ect and a finite
verb. &lso notice that when it is a pronoun, the actor appears in the ob!ective case #me, not ", in the
fourth e)ample$. 3ertain verbs, when the% take an infinitive direct ob!ect, re,uire an actor for the
infinitive phrase; others can5t have an actor. 6till other verbs can go either wa%, as the charts below
illustrate.
Verbs that take infinitive ob!ects without actors:
agree begin continue decide
fail hesitate hope intend
learn neglect offer plan
prefer pretend promise refuse
remember start tr%
-)amples:
7ost students plan to stud%.
.e began to learn.
The% offered to pa%.
The% neglected to pa%.
6he promised to return.
"n all of these e)amples no actor can come between the italici4ed main #finite$ verb and the
infinitive direct-ob!ect phrase.
Verbs that take infinitive ob!ects with actors:
advise allow convince remind
encourage force hire teach
instruct invite permit tell
implore incite appoint order
-)amples:
*e reminded me to bu% milk.
Their fathers advise them to stud%.
6he forced the defendant to admit the truth.
8ou5ve convinced the director of the program to change her position.
" invite %ou to consider the evidence.
"n all of these e)amples an actor is re,uired after the italici4ed main #finite$ verb and before the
infinitive direct-ob!ect phrase.
Verbs that use either pattern:
ask e)pect #would$ like want
-)amples:
" asked to see the records.
" asked him to show me the records.
Trent e)pected his group to win.
Trent e)pected to win.
/renda likes to drive fast.
/renda likes her friend to drive fast.
"n all of these e)amples the main verb can take an infinitive ob!ect with or without an actor.
1unctuation: "f the infinitive is used as an adverb and is the beginning phrase in a sentence, it
should be set off with a comma; otherwise, no punctuation is needed for an infinitive phrase.
To bu% a basket of flowers, 9ohn had to spend his last dollar.
To improve %our writing, %ou must consider %our purpose and audience.
!oints to remember
&n infinitive is a verbal consisting of the word to plus a verb; it ma% be used as a noun, ad!ective,
or adverb.
&n infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive plus modifier#s$, ob!ect#s$, complement#s$, and2or
actor#s$.
&n infinitive phrase re,uires a comma onl% if it is used as an adverb at the beginning of a
sentence.
"p#it infinitives
6plit infinitives occur when additional words are included between to and the verb in an infinitive.
7an% readers find a single adverb splitting the infinitive to be acceptable, but this practice should
be avoided in formal writing.
-)amples:
" like to on a nice da% walk in the woods. : #unacceptable$
;n a nice da%, " like to walk in the woods. #revised$
" needed to ,uickl% gather m% personal possessions. #acceptable in informal conte)ts$
" needed to gather m% personal possessions ,uickl%. #revised for formal conte)ts$
III. $erun%s
& gerund is a verbal that ends in -ing and functions as a noun. The term verbal indicates that
a gerund, like the other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb and therefore e)presses action or a
state of being. *owever, since a gerund functions as a noun, it occupies some positions in a
sentence that a noun ordinaril% would, for e)ample: sub!ect, direct ob!ect, sub!ect complement,
and ob!ect of preposition.
$erun% as sub&ect:
Traveling might satisf% %our desire for new e)periences.
The stud% abroad program might satisf% %our desire for new e)periences.
$erun% as %irect ob&ect:
The% do not appreciate m% singing.
The% do not appreciate m% assistance.
$erun% as sub&ect comp#ement:
7% cat5s favorite activit% is sleeping.
7% cat5s favorite food is salmon.
$erun% as ob&ect of preposition:
The police arrested him for speeding.
The police arrested him for criminal activit%.
' $erun% !hrase is a group of words consisting of a gerund and the modifier#s$ and2or
#pro$noun#s$ or noun phrase#s$ that function as the direct ob!ect#s$, indirect ob!ect#s$, or
complement#s$ of the action or state e)pressed in the gerund, such as:
The gerun% phrase functions as the sub&ect of the sentence.
<inding a needle in a ha%stack would be easier than what we are tr%ing to do.
<inding #gerund$
a needle #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in gerund$
The gerun% phrase functions as the %irect ob&ect of the verb appreciate.
" hope that %ou appreciate m% offering %ou this opportunit%.
m% #possessive pronoun ad!ective form, modif%ing the gerund$
offering #gerund$
%ou #indirect ob!ect of action e)pressed in gerund$
this opportunit% #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in gerund$
The gerun% phrase functions as the sub&ect comp#ement.
'ewt5s favorite tactic has been l%ing to his constituents.
l%ing to #gerund$
his constituents #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in gerund$
The gerund phrase functions as the ob!ect of the preposition for.
8ou might get in trouble for faking an illness to avoid work.
faking #gerund$
an illness #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in gerund$
!oints to remember:
& gerund is a verbal ending in -ing that is used as a noun.
& gerund phrase consists of a gerund plus modifier#s$, ob!ect#s$, and2or complement#s$.
=erunds and gerund phrases virtuall% never re,uire punctuation.
& gerund virtuall% never re,uires an% punctuation with it.
IV. !articip#es
& participle is a verbal that is used as an ad!ective and most often ends in -ing or -ed. The
term verbal indicates that a participle, like the other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb and
therefore e)presses action or a state of being. *owever, since the% function as ad!ectives,
participles modif% nouns or pronouns. There are two t%pes of participles: present participles and
past participles. 1resent participles end in -ing. 1ast participles end in -ed, -en, -d, -t, or -n, as in
the words asked, eaten, saved, dealt, and seen.
The cr%ing bab% had a wet diaper.
6haken, he walked awa% from the wrecked car.
The burning log fell off the fire.
6miling, she hugged the panting dog.
& participial phrase is a group of words consisting of a participle and the modifier#s$ and2or
#pro$noun#s$ or noun phrase#s$ that function as the direct ob!ect#s$, indirect ob!ect#s$, or
complement#s$ of the action or state e)pressed in the participle, such as:
>emoving his coat, 9ack rushed to the river.
The participial phrase functions as an ad!ective modif%ing 9ack.
>emoving #participle$
his coat #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in participle$
?elores noticed her cousin walking along the shoreline.
The participial phrase functions as an ad!ective modif%ing cousin.
walking #participle$
along the shoreline #prepositional phrase as adverb$
3hildren introduced to music earl% develop strong intellectual skills.
The participial phrase functions as an ad!ective modif%ing children.
introduced #to$ #participle$
music #direct ob!ect of action e)pressed in participle$
earl% #adverb$
*aving been a g%mnast, @%nn knew the importance of e)ercise.
The participial phrase functions as an ad!ective modif%ing @%nn.
*aving been #participle$
a g%mnast #sub!ect complement for @%nn, via state of being e)pressed in participle$
1lacement: "n order to prevent confusion, a participial phrase must be placed as close to the noun
it modifies as possible, and the noun must be clearl% stated.
3arr%ing a heav% pile of books, his foot caught on a step. :
3arr%ing a heav% pile of books, he caught his foot on a step.
"n the first sentence there is no clear indication of who or what is performing the action e)pressed
in the participle carr%ing. 3ertainl% foot can5t be logicall% understood to function in this wa%. This
situation is an e)ample of a dangling modifier error since the modifier #the participial phrase$ is
not modif%ing an% specific noun in the sentence and is thus left (dangling.( 6ince a person must
be doing the carr%ing for the sentence to make sense, a noun or pronoun that refers to a person
must be in the place immediatel% after the participial phrase, as in the second sentence.
1unctuation: .hen a participial phrase begins a sentence, a comma should be placed after the
phrase.
&rriving at the store, " found that it was closed.
.ashing and polishing the car, <rank developed sore muscles.
"f the participle or participial phrase comes in the middle of a sentence, it should be set off with
commas onl% if the information is not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
6id, watching an old movie, drifted in and out of sleep.
The church, destro%ed b% a fire, was never rebuilt.
'ote that if the participial phrase is essential to the meaning of the sentence, no commas should be
used:
The student earning the highest grade point average will receive a special award.
The gu% wearing the chicken costume is m% cousin.
"f a participial phrase comes at the end of a sentence, a comma usuall% precedes the phrase if it
modifies an earlier word in the sentence but not if the phrase directl% follows the word it modifies.
The local residents often saw Aen wandering through the streets.
#The phrase modifies Aen, not residents.$
Tom nervousl% watched the woman, alarmed b% her silence.
#The phrase modifies Tom, not woman.$
!oints to remember
& participle is a verbal ending in -ing #present$ or -ed, -en, -d, -t, or -n #past$ that functions as an
ad!ective, modif%ing a noun or pronoun.
& participial phrase consists of a participle plus modifier#s$, ob!ect#s$, and2or complement#s$.
1articiples and participial phrases must be placed as close to the nouns or pronouns the% modif% as
possible, and those nouns or pronouns must be clearl% stated.
& participial phrase is set off with commas when it:
a$ comes at the beginning of a sentence
b$ interrupts a sentence as a nonessential element
c$ comes at the end of a sentence and is separated from the word it modifies.
(omparing $erun%s) !articip#es an% Infinitives
(omparing $erun%s an% !articip#es
@ook at the following pair of sentences. "n the first, the use of a gerund #functioning as a noun$
allows the meaning to be e)pressed more precisel% than in the second. "n the first sentence the
interrupting itself, a specific behavior, is precisel% indicated as the cause of the speaker5s irritation.
"n the second the cause of the irritation is identified less precisel% as /ill, who !ust happens to
have been interrupting. #"n the second sentence, interrupting is actuall% a participle, not a gerund,
since it functions as an ad!ective modif%ing /ill.$
" was irritated b% /ill5s constant interrupting.
" was irritated b% /ill, constantl% interrupting.
The same pattern is shown in these other e)ample pairs below: in the first of each pair, a gerund
#noun-function$ is used; in the second, a participle #ad!ective-function$. 'otice the subtle change
in meaning between the two sentences in each pair.
-)amples:
The guitarist5s finger-picking was e)traordinar%. #The techni,ue was e)traordinar%.$
The guitarist, finger-picking, was e)traordinar%. #The person was e)traordinar%, demonstrating the
techni,ue.$
*e was not impressed with their competing. #The competing did not impress him.$
*e was not impressed with them competing. #The% did not impress him as the% competed.$
=randpa en!o%ed his grandchildren5s running and laughing.
=randpa en!o%ed his grandchildren, running and laughing.: #&mbiguous: who is running and
laughingB$
(omparing $erun%s an% Infinitives
The difference in the form of gerunds and infinitives is ,uite clear !ust from comparing the
following lists:
=erunds: swimming, hoping, telling, eating, dreaming
"nfinitives: to swim, to hope, to tell, to eat, to dream
Their functions, however, overlap. =erunds alwa%s function as nouns, but infinitives often also
serve as nouns. ?eciding which to use can be confusing in man% situations, especiall% for people
whose first language is not -nglish.
3onfusion between gerunds and infinitives occurs primaril% in cases in which one or the other
functions as the direct ob!ect in a sentence. "n -nglish some verbs take gerunds as verbal direct
ob!ects e)clusivel% while other verbs take onl% infinitives and still others can take either. 7an%
such verbs are listed below, organi4ed according to which kind of verbal direct ob!ect the% take.
Verbs that take onl% infinitives as verbal direct ob!ects
agree decide e)pect hesitate propose
learn need promise neglect intend
hope want plan attempt pretend
-)amples:
" hope to go on a vacation soon.
#not: " hope going on a vacation soon.:$
*e promised to go on a diet.
#not: *e promised going on a diet. :$
The% agreed to sign the treat%.
#not: The% agreed signing the treat%.:$
/ecause she was nervous, she hesitated to speak.
#not: /ecause she was nervous, she hesitated speaking.:$
The% will attempt to resuscitate the victim
#not: The% will attempt resuscitating the victim.:$
Verbs that take onl% gerunds as verbal direct ob!ects
den% risk dela% consider get2be through regret mind appreciate
can5t help keep give up be fond of get2be tired of en!o% recall recommend
finish ,uit put off practice get2be accustomed to detest avoid keep #on$
postpone tolerate suggest stop #,uit$ get2be used to miss admit dislike
-)amples:
The% alwa%s avoid drinking before driving.
#not: The% alwa%s avoid to drink before driving.:$
" recall asking her that ,uestion.
#not: " recall to ask her that ,uestion.:$
6he put off bu%ing a new !acket.
#not: 6he put off to bu% a new !acket.:$
7r. &llen en!o%s cooking.
#not: 7r. &llen en!o%s to cook.:$
3harles keeps calling her.
#not: 3harles keeps to call her.:$
Verbs that ta*e gerun%s or infinitives as verba# %irect ob&ects
begin, continue, hate, like, love, prefer, remember, start, tr%
-)amples:
6he has continued to work at the store.
6he has continued working at the store.
The% like to go to the movies.
The% like going to the movies.
/rent started to walk home.
/rent started walking home.
+orget an% remember
These two verbs change meaning depending on whether a gerund or infinitive is used as the
ob!ect.
-)amples:
9ack forgets to take out the cat. #*e regularl% forgets.$
9ack forgets taking out the cat. #*e did it, but he doesn5t remember now.$
9ack forgot to take out the cat. #*e never did it.$
9ack forgot taking out the cat. #*e did it, but he didn5t remember sometime later.$
9ack remembers to take out the cat. #*e regularl% remembers.$
9ack remembers taking out the cat. #*e did it, and he remembers now.$
9ack remembered to take out the cat. #*e did it.$
9ack remembered taking out the cat. #*e did it, and he remembered sometime later.$
"n the second of each pair of e)ample sentences above, the past progressive gerund form having
taken can be used in place of taking to avoid an% possible confusion.
"ense verbs that ta*e an ob&ect p#us a gerun% or a simp#e verb
3ertain sense verbs take an ob!ect followed b% either a gerund or a simple verb #infinitive form
minus the word to$. .ith man% of the verbs that follow the ob!ect, the use of the gerund indicates
continuous action while the use of the simple verb indicates a one-time action. 6till, sometimes the
simple verb can indicate continuous action if one-time action wouldn5t make sense in the conte)t.
feel hear notice watch see smell observe
-)amples:
.e watched him pla%ing basketball. #continuous action$
.e watched him pla% basketball. #continuous action$
" felt m% heart pumping vigorousl%. #continuous action$
" felt m% heart pump vigorousl%. #continuous action$
6he saw them !umping on the bed. #continuous action$
6he saw them !ump on the bed. #one-time action$
Tom heard the victim shouting for help. #continuous action$
Tom heard the victim shout for help. #one-time action$
The detective noticed the suspect biting his nails. #continuous action$
The detective noticed the suspect bite his nails. #one-time action$
.e could smell the pie baking in the kitchen. #continuous action$
.e could smell the pie bake in the kitchen. #continuous action$
6ometimes the simple-verb version might seem unconventional, so it5s safer in most cases to use
the gerund version.
"t is often difficult to know when to use a gerund and when to use an infinitive. These guidelines
ma% help %ou:
=erunds are often used when actions are real, concrete or completed:
" stopped smoking.
#The smoking was real and happened until " stopped.$
"nfinitives are often used when actions are unreal, abstract, or future:
" stopped to smoke.
#" was doing something else, and " stopped; the smoking had not happened %et.$
;nl% gerunds can be the ob!ect of a preposition.
.e are talking about writing in -nglish.
,ome-or* assignment:
1. >ead 3hapters 1C to 1D..
2. ?o the e)ercises after the chapters.