Finite verb form

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The finite verb form (counter-term: infinite verb form ) refers to word forms of a verb that express certain grammatical features and combine this with special syntactic properties; In German, the most important peculiarity of finite verb forms is that only they can have a nominative subject with them.

The finite features in German grammar are:

In contrast to this are the non-finite verb forms, in German infinitives and participles, which do not have these characteristics (but can still be connected to the grammatical categories active / passive or perfect).

Not all languages ​​have verb forms that mark tense or person characteristics. The verb forms that are to be regarded as finite can therefore be distinguished by other combinations of characteristics than in German. In addition, many languages ​​do not show a clear finite-infinite distinction from the outset.

Finitheit in German: Examples

In the following example sentence, the verb "drive" is marked as the 2nd person singular, present indicative active:

„Du fährst Fahrrad.“

In German, as in most Indo-European languages, an independent main clause contains at least one finite verb, in addition to which one or more infinite verb forms can occur. For example, the compound tense forms past perfect , future tense I and II in German are regularly formed by a finite auxiliary verb and an infinite main verb.

The finite verb is subject to special positional rules in German , since the German main clause has the form of a second clause . This makes the finite verb appear separated from the infinite verb parts in the same sentence, e.g. B. in the following sentence:

„Er hat bereits seine Freundin angerufen.“

Here “has” is the finite, “called” the (only) infinite verb part; both are separated from each other and enclose the rest of the sentence (in the so-called midfield ). Thus, for the coming declarative sentence and supplementary question set (W-interrogative sentence) characteristic sentence bracket about.


  • Gisela Zifonun, Ludger Hoffmann, Bruno Strecker: Grammar of the German language. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1997, ISBN 3-11-014752-1 .

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Wiktionary: finite verb form  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations