Lecture 11 Non-finite verbs & non-finite clauses
1.1 forms of infinitive
1.2 uses of infinitive sign --- to
1.3 collocations of infinitive with adj., n. and v.
2. –ing participle
2.1 collocation of –ing participle with v.
2.2 verbs followed by either infinitive or –ing p.
2.3 –ing participle clauses
3. -ed participle
3.1 use of –ed participle
3.2 –ed participle clauses
4. Dangling participles and absolute construction
Non-finite verbs and phrases
• In linguistics, a non-finite verb is a verb form that
is not limited by a subject.
• Non-finite verbs: not marked for tense or for
• Non-finite phrase or clause: main verbs occurs in
the non-finite form or a clause with a non-finite
verb phrase as predicate.
• I’d like to play tennis.
• She enjoys inviting friends to parties.
• I must get my suit cleaned.
1.Forms of Infinitives
• I have a lot of work to do.
• I asked him not to tell me the truth.
• To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of life.
He is said to have left Shanghai.
The president was reported to have been flying across the
• Infinitives can take the aspect and voice forms.
to-infinitive and bare infinitive
Use of bare-infinitive: P141
You should do what you are told. (modals)
You can not help but respect them.
She would rather die than marry him. (modal idioms)
We hadn't time for luncheon，but we made do with
Don't let go (of) the handle. (idiomatic verb
Would you let him have a try? (causative verbs )
We felt the house shake.
He doesn't like listening to other people talk. (sense verbs)
They did nothing but wait.
There's no choice but to unite. (preposition but and except)
Go post a letter for me.
Come have a chat with me. (idiomatic expressions)
Use of infinitive sign --- to
• Infinitive “to” vs. preposition “to”
• He used to ___ up late in the morning.
• He is used to ___ up in the morninglate. (get)
• John came to ___ (realize) that that housework was an
important part of daily life.
• When it came to ___ (help) his wife with housework, John
• Identical in form, but the former followed by an infinitive,
and the latter followed by a noun or equivalent.
• (P156, 2)
collocations of infinitives with adjectives, nouns, and verbs
• 1. Adjective＋infinitive (as complement)
• He is glad to help others.
I'm sorry to be late.
• She was careless to break the cup. = It was careless of her
to break the cup.
• That question is difficult to answer.=It is difficult to answer
• Dirty water is nasty to drink.=It is nasty to drink dirty water.
The box is heavy to move.
These books are easy to sell.= It is easy to sell these books.
= These books sell easily.
• Education makes people easy to lead, but
difficult to drive; easy to govern, but
impossible to enslave.
2. Noun (phrase) + infinitive
He is not the man to draw back.
This is the best book to read.
She is to blame.
Give me a list of people to invite / to be invited.
The man to consult / to be consulted is Mr. Johnson.
I have got a lot of letters to write.
There is a lot of work to do.
There is no necessity to buy / of buying a new car.
The doctor made a bold attempt to save / of saving the
child's life. (Noun + infinitive = noun + preposition + -ing )
3. Verb + - infinitive
• Verb + infinitive
• He demanded to be told everything.
She claimed to be the owner of the car.
• These verbs include agree, aim, apply, arrange, choose,
claim, decide, demand, desire, determine, endeavor, expect,
hope, learn, manage, offer, pledge, prepare, pretend,
profess, promise, refuse, resolve, seek, swear, threaten,
undertake, venture, volunteer, vow, etc. (about 90)
• Verb + object + infinitive
• We know him to be reliable.
He declared himself to be innocent.
• They believed him to be insane.= They believed that
he was insane.
• The verbs include feel, think, understand, imagine,
consider, guess, suppose etc.
• Verb + (object) + infinitive
• Do you intend to make a long stay there?
We didn't intend them to act like that.
Do you like to play chess?
I like people to tell the truth.
• Syntactic functions of infinitive clauses
• Infinitives with to can be the subject, object,
complement, or adverbial in the sentence.
• To give is better than to take.
• To know everything is to know nothing.
• To live is to do something worthwhile.
• He thought a great pity not to have invited her.
• He likes his wife to dress well.
as adverbial of purpose, result, and cause.
Eat to please yourself, but dress to please others.
She stood up to be seen better.
He opened the window in order to / so as to get
some fresh air.
• In 1935 he left home never to return.
He got to the station only to be told that the train
had left.He was like a cock that thought the sun had
risen to hear him crow.
Other uses of infinitive
She is too young to take care of herself.
I’m too tired to do anything tonight.
The boy is too short to reach the top shelf.
= the boy is not tall enough to reach the top shelf.
They are too poor to own a house.
= they are not rich enough to own a house.
2. –ing participle
-ing participle: present participle and gerund
1. collocation of –ing participle with v.
A. Verb + -ing form
He admitted making the mistake.
She dreads getting old.
She couldn’t help crying when she heard the news.
I can’t stand being kept waiting.
• These verbs include admit , acknowledge,
anticipate, advocate, appreciate, avoid, can't help,
can't resist, can't stand, consider, contemplate,
defer, delay, deny, detest, dislike, don't mind,
ensure, enjoy, escape, excuse, evade, facilitate,
fancy, favor, finish, give up, imagine, include,
keep (on) ,mind, miss, pardon, postpone, practise,
put off , resent, report ,risk, stop, suggest , etc.
B. verbs followed by either infinitive or –ing p.
1. without change of meaning
I can’t bear living alone.
I can’t bear to see the child so badly treated.
Phil prefers doing it that way.
He prefers to go by train this evening.
• verbs such as begin, cease, continue, start and
emotive verbs such as can’t bear, dread, hate,
intend, like, love, need, neglect, omit, plan, prefer,
• The infinitive is commonly used to refer to
a specific act while the-ing participle is
used to refer to a general act, eg:
• It is no use __ (cry) over spilt milk.
• Would you prefer __ (stay) at home this
• She began __ (believe) his story.
• At last they ceased __ (talk).
2. with different meanings
• Can't you remember telling me the story last night?
You must remember to tell him all that.
• I regret telling you that John stole it.
I regret to tell you that John stoic it.
They stopped watching TV at 9:30.
They stopped to watch TV at 9:30.
• Your plan would mean spending a lot of money.
I didn't mean to spend too much money on that project.
They wants to repair the house.
The house wants repairing.
She proposed catching the early train.
She proposed to catch the early train.
The workers quit smoking.
The workers quit to eat.
I can’t help doing it.
I can’t help to do it.
He deservers shooting first.
He deservers to shoot first.
• P157, 17B
Syntactic functions of – ing participle clauses
• 1. Both –ing participle and infinitive clause can be used as
subject, object, and subject / object complement.
• Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is
what makes it permanent.
• Reading a good book is like talking with a lofty person.
• It is no use doing what you like; you have got to like what
• I noticed an old man crossing the road.
I noticed an old man cross the road.
• 2. as adverbials of time, cause, or condition, concession,
result, and accompanying circumstances.
• Climbing to the top of the tower, we saw a magnificent view.
Being a hard-working young man, he was praised by his
You will make yourself more tired keeping on your feet.
Knowing all this, he still insisted on my paying for the
It rained heavily, causing severe flooding in that area.
The old man was asleep, holding a book in his hand.
3. -ed participle
• as pre modifier and as subject/object complement.
• 1. as pre modifier
• frozen food
a bored traveler
a lost cause
• The ruled class
a freezing wind
a boring journey
a losing battle
the ruling class
• transitive –ed participles usually denote a passive meaning or a
sense of completion.
• -ing participles which may come from transitive and intransitive
verbs usually express an active meaning or a sense of incompletion
a returned overseas
an escaped prisoner
the risen sun
a faded flower
a returned student
the vanished treasure
intransitive –ed participles as pre modifiers
have the sense of completion but imply no
• A banquet was given in honor of the distinguished
• A watched pot never boils.
• Father looked at the child with a pleased look.
• She is a girl of unequalled beauty.
• He achieved undreamt-of success.
• He took an uninterested attitude.
• It’s a proven fact.
2. –ed participle as complement
• A drunken man is one who has got drunk.
A lighted candle is one that has been lit. (p.161)
• Everybody thought the battle lost.
• I heard his name called.
• I have my hair cut every two weeks.
• Please keep us informed of the latest developments.
• I don’t want any of you (to be) involved in the
syntactic functions of –ed participle clauses
• The men, (who were) soaked with sweat from an all-right
march, immediately went into action.
• Most of the people invited to the party didn’t turn up.
• As an adverbial, -ed participle clauses can denote time,
cause, condition, concession as well as accompanying
• Heated, the metal expands.
Deeply moved, he thanked her again and again.
Left to his own devices, Charles did not relax his efforts.
• United, we stand; divided, we fall.
• The soldier, though seriously wounded, persevered in
• We will not attack, unless attacked.
4. Dangling participle
• Attachment rule : When non-finites are used as adverbial
clauses, its logical subject is usually identifiable with the
subject or other element of the main clause. It is through
this relationship that the non-finite construction is
"attached" to the main clause.
• When the subject of a non-finite is not expressed, it is
normally understood to be the subject of the main clause.
• Looking up the sky, she saw the moon shinning bright.
• To save the child, he laid his life.
• Caught in a traffic jam, we lost patience easily.
• Violation of the "attachment rule" will result in
a "dangling participle”.
Sitting at the window, a flock of birds flew across the sky.
Barking loudly, we chased the dog out of the room.
To admit fresh air, the window were all wide open.
Though troubled by heavy family cares, the work was
done as well as ever.
• Wanting patience, one won’t succeed.
• Touching her wealth, I have nothing to say.
• Frankly speaking, the car is not worth buying.
• “absolute construction” is essentially a non-finite with
an expressed subject of its own.
• An “absolute constructions” is commonly separated from
the main clause by a comma.
• used in formal literary language as a sort of rhetorical to
achieve concision in wording and vividness.
• “absolute constructions” can be used as adverbials of
time, cause, condition, manner, as well as accompanying
• The last bus having gone, we had to walk home.
• The job finished, we went home straight
away.=With the job finished, we went home
• The tree growing tall, we will get more shade.=With
the tree growing tall, we will get more shade.
• His homework done, Jim decided to go and seen
• Her shirt caught on a nail, she could not move.
• Weather permitting, the cricket match will take
place on Wednesday.
• The meeting (being) over, we all left the room.
• Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it
few; we ought to waste none of them in reading
• 2000 There___ nothing more for discussion, the meeting came
to an end half an hour earlier.
A. to be
B. to have been
C. being D. be
51. ___ at in this way, the present economic situation doesn’t
seem so gloomy.
B. Looked C. Having looked D. To look
• 2001 51. ___ is not a serious disadvantage in life.
A. To be not tall B. Not to be tall
C. Being not tall D. Not being tall
• 2002 46. AID is said _________ the number-one killer of both
men and women over the past few years in that region.
A. being b. to be C. to have been D. having been
• 2004 45.If not ____ with the respect he feels due to him, Jack gets
very ill-tempered and grumbles all the time.
A. being treated B. treated C. be treated D. having been treated
• 2007 55.Linda was _____the experiment a month ago, but she
changed her mind at the last minute.
A. to start
B. to have started
C. to be starting D. to have been starting
63.It is not uncommon for there _______problems of
communication between the old and the young.
A. being B. would be C. be D. to be
64.________at in his way, the situation does not seem so desperate.
A. Looking B. looked C. Being looked D. to look
2009 51. What a nice day! How about the three of us _____ a walk
in the park nearby?
A. to take B. take C. taking D. to be taking
• 63.It is not uncommon for there _______problems of communication between the
old and the young.
there be是比较常见的句型，但还有其他两个句型，there to be 和there being.
there to be前面一般接介词for， 可以充当主语，宾语和表语。
例如：It‘s important for there to be no suspicion between us. (For there to be no
suspicion between us is important.)
• 这个句型与题目的句型一致，都是for there to be充当主语，it在这里作形式主
I expect there to be a party in our company tomorrow. 我盼望我们公司明天举行
Our hope is for there to be a peaceful world. 我们希望世界和平。
There being so large a population in so small a district is a heavy burden. 如此狭
I never dreamed of there being so many animals in the mountains here. 我从没想
There being no bus, we had to walk there. 因为没有公交车，我们只好步行去那