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VERBS > Active Voice > Passive Voice > Conjugation > Defective Strong Verbs > Mood > Imperative Mood > Indicative Mood > Subjunctive Mood > BE (usage) > CHOOSE (usage) > Person/Number (usage) > SHALL/WILL (usage) > Strong Verbs > Tense > Transitive > Troublesome Verbs > Weak Verbs

WEAK VERBS.

255. Those weak verbs which add -d or -ed to form the past tense and past participle, and have no change of vowel, are so easily recognized as to need no special treatment. Some of them are already given as secondary forms of the strong verbs.

But the rest, which may be called irregular weak verbs, need some attention and explanation.

256. The irregular weak verbs are divided into two classes,—

The two classes of irregular weak verbs.

(1) Those which retain the -d or -t in the past tense, with some change of form for the past tense and past participle.

(2) Those which end in -d or -t, and have lost the ending which formerly was added to this.

The old ending to verbs of Class II. was -de or -te; as,—

This worthi man ful wel his wit bisette [used].—Chaucer.

Of smale houndes hadde she, that sche fedde With rosted flessh, or mylk and wastel breed.—Id.

This ending has now dropped off, leaving some weak verbs with the same form throughout: as set, set, set; put, put, put.

257. Irregular Weak Verbs.—Class I.

Present Tense. Past Tense. Past Participle.
bereave bereft, bereave bereft, bereaved
beseech besought besought
burn burned, burnt burnt
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
creep crept crept
deal dealt dealt
dream dreamt, dreamed dreamt, dreamed
dwell dwelt dwelt
feel felt felt
flee fled fled
have had had (once haved)
hide hid hidden, hid
keep kept kept
kneel knelt knelt
lay laid laid
lean leaned, leant leaned, leant
leap leaped, leapt leaped, leapt
leave left left
lose lost lost
make made (once maked) made
mean meant meant
pay paid paid
pen [inclose] penned, pen penned, pent
say said said
seek sought sought
sell sold sold
shoe shod shod
sleep slept slept
spell spelled, spelt spelt
spill spilt spilt
stay staid, stayed staid, stayed
sweep swept swept
teach taught taught
tell told told
think thought thought
weep wept wept
work worked, wrought worked, wrought

258. Irregular Weak Verbs.—Class II.

Present Tense. Past Tense. Past Participle.
bend bent, bended bent, bended
bleed bled bled
breed bred bred
build built built
cast cast cast
cost cost cost
feed fed fed
gild gilded, gilt gilded, gilt
gird girt, girded girt, girded
hit hit hit
hurt hurt hurt
knit knit, knitted knit, knitted
lead led led
let let let
light lighted, lit lighted, lit
meet met met
put put put
quit quit, quitted quit, quitted
read read read
rend rent rent
rid rid rid
send sent sent
set set set
shed shed shed
shred shred shred
shut shut shut
slit slit slit
speed sped sped
spend spent spent
spit spit [obs. spat] spit [obs. spat]
split split split
spread spread spread
sweat sweat sweat
thrust thrust thrust
wed wed, wedded wed, wedded
wet wet, wetted wet, wetted
Tendency to phonetic spelling.

250. There seems to be in Modern English a growing tendency toward phonetic spelling in the past tense and past participle of weak verbs. For example, -ed, after the verb bless, has the sound of t: hence the word is often written blest. So with dipt, whipt, dropt, tost, crost, drest, prest, etc. This is often seen in poetry, and is increasing in prose.


VERBS > Active Voice > Passive Voice > Conjugation > Defective Strong Verbs > Mood > Imperative Mood > Indicative Mood > Subjunctive Mood > BE (usage) > CHOOSE (usage) > Person/Number (usage) > SHALL/WILL (usage) > Strong Verbs > Tense > Transitive > Troublesome Verbs > Weak Verbs