TENSE.

TENSE.
Definition.
233.Tense means time. The tense of a verb is the form or use indicating the time of an action or being.
Tenses in English.
Old English had only two tenses,—the present tense, which represented present and future time; and the past tense. We still use the present for the future in such expressions as, “I go away to-morrow;” “If he comes, tell him to wait.”
But English of the present day not only has a tense for each of the natural time divisions,—present, past, and future,—but has other tenses to correspond with those of highly inflected languages, such as Latin and Greek.
The distinct inflections are found only in the present and past tenses, however: the others are compounds of verbal forms with various helping verbs, called auxiliaries; such as be, have, shall, will.
The tenses in detail.
234.Action or being may be represented as occurring in present, past, or future time, by means of the present, the past, and thefuture tense. It may also be represented as finished in present or past or future time by means of the present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tenses.
Not only is this so: there are what are called definite forms of these tenses, showing more exactly the time of the action or being. These make the English speech even more exact than other languages, as will be shown later on, in the conjugations.
PERSON AND NUMBER.
235.The English verb has never had full inflections for number and person, as the classical languages have.
When the older pronoun thou was in use, there was a form of the verb to correspond to it, or agree with it, as, “Thou walkest,” present; “Thou walkedst,” past; also, in the third person singular, a form ending in –eth, as, “It is not in man that walketh, to direct his steps.”
But in ordinary English of the present day there is practically only one ending for person and number. This is the third person, singular number; as, “He walks;” and this only in the present tense indicative. This is important in questions of agreement when we come to syntax.
CONJUGATION.
Definition.
236.Conjugation is the regular arrangement of the forms of the verb in the various voices, moods, tenses, persons, and numbers.
In classical languages, conjugation means joining together the numerous endings to the stem of the verb; but in English, inflections are so few that conjugation means merely the exhibition of the forms and the different verb phrases that express the relations of voice, mood, tense, etc.
Few forms.
237.Verbs in modern English have only four or five forms; for example, walk has walk, walks, walked, walking, sometimes adding the old forms walkest, walkedst, walketh. Such verbs as choose have five,—choose, chooses, chose, choosing, chosen (old,choosest, chooseth, chosest).
The verb be has more forms, since it is composed of several different roots,—am, are, is, were, been, etc.
238.INFLECTIONS OF THE VERB BE.
Indicative Mood.
PRESENT TENSE.
PAST TENSE.
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
1. I am
We are
1. I was
We were
2. You are
(thou art)
You are
2. You were
(thou wast, wert)
You were
3. [He] is
[They] are
3. [He] was
[They were]
Subjunctive Mood.
PRESENT TENSE.
PAST TENSE.
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
1. I be
We be
1. I were
We were
2. You (thou) be
You be
2. You were
(thou wert)
You were
3. [He] be
[They] be
3. [He] were
[They] were
Imperative Mood.
PRESENT TENSE
Singular and Plural
Be.
Remarks on the verb be.
239.This conjugation is pieced out with three different roots: (1) am, is; (2) was, were; (3) be.
Instead of the plural are, Old English had beoth and sind or sindon, same as the German sind. Are is supposed to have come from the Norse language.
The old indicative third person plural be is sometimes found in literature, though it is usually a dialect form; for example,—
Where be the sentries who used to salute as the Royal chariots drove in and out?—Thackeray
Where be the gloomy shades, and desolate mountains?—Whittier
Uses of be.
240.The forms of the verb be have several uses:—
(1) As principal verbs.
The light that never was on sea and land.—Wordsworth.
(2) As auxiliary verbs, in four ways,—
(a) With verbal forms in -ing (imperfect participle) to form the definite tenses.
Broadswords are maddening in the rear,—Each broadsword bright was brandishing like beam of light.—Scott.
(b) With the past participle in -ed, -en, etc., to form the passive voice.
By solemn vision and bright silver dream,His infancy was nurtured.—Shelley.
(c) With past participle of intransitive verbs, being equivalent to the present perfect and past perfect tenses active; as,
When we are goneFrom every object dear to mortal sight.—Wordsworth
We drank tea, which was now become an occasional banquet.—Goldsmith.
(d) With the infinitive, to express intention, obligation, condition, etc.; thus,
It was to have been called the Order of Minerva.—Thackeray.
Ingenuity and cleverness are to be rewarded by State prizes.—Id.
If I were to explain the motion of a body falling to the ground.—Burke
241.INFLECTIONS OF THE VERB CHOOSE.
Indicative Mood.
PRESENT TENSE.
PAST TENSE.
Singular.
Plural.
Singular.
Plural.
1. I choose
We choose
1. I chose
We chose
2. You choose
You choose
2. You chose
You chose
3. [He] chooses
[They] choose
3. [He] chose
[They] chose
Subjunctive Mood.
PRESENT TENSE.
PAST TENSE.
Singular.
Plural.
Singular.
Plural.
1. I choose
We choose
1. I chose
We chose
2. You choose
You choose
2. You chose
You chose
3. [He] choose
[They] choose
3. [He] chose
[They] chose
Imperative Mood.
PRESENT TENSE
Singular and Plural
Choose.
FULL CONJUGATION OF THE VERB CHOOSE.
Machinery of a verb in the voices, tenses, etc.
242.In addition to the above inflected forms, there are many periphrastic or compound forms, made up of auxiliaries with the infinitives and participles. Some of these have been indicated in Sec. 240, (2).
The ordinary tenses yet to be spoken of are made up as follows:—
(1) Future tense, by using shall and will with the simple or root form of the verb; as, “I shall be,” “He will choose.
(2) Present perfect, past perfect, future perfect, tenses, by placing have, had, and shall (or will) have before the past participle of any verb; as, “I have gone” (present perfect), “I had gone” (past perfect), “I shall have gone” (future perfect).
(3) The definite form of each tense, by using auxiliaries with the imperfect participle active; as, “I am running,” “They had been running.”
(4) The passive forms, by using the forms of the verb be before the past participle of verbs; as, “I was chosen,” “You are chosen.”
243.The following scheme will show how rich our language is in verb phrases to express every variety of meaning. Only the third person, singular number, of each tense, will be given.
ACTIVE VOICE.
Indicative Mood.
Present.
He chooses.
Present definite.
He is choosing.
Past.
He chose.
Past definite.
He was choosing.
Future.
He will choose.
Future definite.
He will he choosing.
Present perfect.
He has chosen.
Present perfect definite.
He has been choosing.
Past perfect.
He had chosen.
Past perfect definite.
He had been choosing.
Future perfect.
He will have chosen.
Future perfect definite.
He will have been choosing.
Subjunctive Mood.
Present.
[If, though, lest, etc.]
he choose.
Present definite.
he be choosing.
Past.
he chose (or were to choose).
Past definite.
he were choosing (or were to be choosing).
Present perfect.
he have chosen.
Present perfect definite.
he have been choosing.
Past perfect.
Same as indicative.
Past perfect definite.
Same as indicative.
Imperative Mood.
Present.
(2d per.)
Choose.
Present definite.
Be choosing.
NOTE.—Since participles and infinitives are not really verbs, but verbals, they will be discussed later (Sec. 262).
PASSIVE VOICE.
Indicative Mood.
Present.
He is chosen.
Present definite.
He is being chosen.
Past.
He was chosen.
Past definite.
He was being chosen.
Future.
He will be chosen.
Future definite.
None.
Present perfect.
He has been chosen.
Present perfect definite.
None.
Past perfect.
He had been chosen.
Past perfect definite.
None.
Future perfect.
He will have been chosen.
Future perfect definite.
None.
Subjunctive Mood.
Present..
[If, though, lest, etc.]
he be chosen.
Present definite.
None.
Past.
he were chosen (or were to be chosen).
Past definite.
he were being chosen.
Present perfect.
he have been chosen.
Present perfect definite.
None.
Past Perfect.
he had been chosen.
Past perfect definite.
None.
Imperative Mood.
Present tense.
(2d per.)
Be chosen.
Also, in affirmative sentences, the indicative present and past tenses have emphatic forms made up of do and did with the infinitive or simple form; as, “He does strike,” “He did strike.”
[Note to Teacher.—This table is not to be learned now; if learned at all, it should be as practice work on strong and weak verb forms. Exercises should be given, however, to bring up sentences containing such of these conjugation forms as the pupil will find readily in literature.]
VERBS CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO FORM.
Kinds.
244.According to form, verbs are strong or weak.
Definition.
A strong verb forms its past tense by changing the vowel of the present tense form, but adds no ending; as, run, ran; drive,drove.
A weak verb always adds an ending to the present to form the past tense, and may or may not change the vowel: as, beg,begged; lay, laid; sleep, slept; catch, caught.
245.TABLE OF STRONG VERBS.
NOTE. Some of these also have weak forms, which are in parentheses
Present Tense.
Past Tense.
Past Participle.
abide
abode
abode
arise
arose
arisen
awake
awoke (awaked)
awoke (awaked)
bear
bore
borne (active)born (passive)
begin
began
begun
behold
beheld
beheld
bid
bade, bid
bidden, bid
bind
bound
bound,[adj. bounden]
bite
bit
bitten, bit
blow
blew
blown
break
broke
broken
chide
chid
chidden, chid
choose
chose
chosen
cleave
clove, clave (cleft)
cloven (cleft)
climb
[clomb] climbed
climbed
cling
clung
clung
come
came
come
crow
crew (crowed)
(crowed)
dig
dug
dug
do
did
done
draw
drew
drawn
drink
drank
drunk, drank[adj. drunken]
drive
drove
driven
eat
ate, eat
eaten, eat
fall
fell
fallen
fight
fought
fought
find
found
found
fling
flung
flung
fly
flew
flown
forbear
forbore
forborne
forget
forgot
forgotten
forsake
forsook
forsaken
freeze
froze
frozen
get
got
got [gotten]
give
gave
given
go
went
gone
grind
ground
ground
grow
grew
grown
hang
hung (hanged)
hung (hanged)
hold
held
held
know
knew
known
lie
lay
lain
ride
rode
ridden
ring
rang
rung
run
ran
run
see
saw
seen
shake
shook
shaken
shear
shore (sheared)
shorn (sheared)
shine
shone
shone
shoot
shot
shot
shrink
shrank or shrunk
shrunk
shrive
shrove
shriven
sing
sang or sung
sung
sink
sank or sunk
sunk [adj. sunken]
sit
sat [sate]
sat
slay
slew
slain
slide
slid
slidden, slid
sling
slung
slung
slink
slunk
slunk
smite
smote
smitten
speak
spoke
spoken
spin
spun
spun
spring
sprang, sprung
sprung
stand
stood
stood
stave
stove (staved)
(staved)
steal
stole
stolen
stick
stuck
stuck
sting
stung
stung
stink
stunk, stank
stunk
stride
strode
stridden
strike
struck
struck, stricken
string
strung
strung
strive
strove
striven
swear
swore
sworn
swim
swam or swum
swum
swing
swung
swung
take
took
taken
tear
tore
torn
thrive
throve (thrived)
thriven (thrived)
throw
threw
thrown
tread
trod
trodden, trod
wear
wore
worn
weave
wove
woven
win
won
won
wind
wound
wound
wring
wrung
wrung
write
wrote
written
Remarks on Certain Verb Forms.
246.Several of the perfect participles are seldom used except as adjectives: as, “his bounden duty,” “the cloven hoof,” “a drunken wretch,” “a sunken snag.” Stricken is used mostly of diseases; as, “stricken with paralysis.”
The verb bear (to bring forth) is peculiar in having one participle (borne) for the active, and another (born) for the passive. When it means to carry or to endure, borneis also a passive.
The form clomb is not used in prose, but is much used in vulgar English, and sometimes occurs in poetry; as,—
Thou hast clomb aloft.—Wordsworth
Or pine grove whither woodman never clomb.—Coleridge
The forms of cleave are really a mixture of two verbs,—one meaning to adhere or cling; the other, to split. The former used to be cleave, cleaved, cleaved; and the latter, cleave, clave or clove, cloven. But the latter took on the weak form cleft in the past tense and past participle,—as (from Shakespeare), “O Hamlet! thou hastcleft my heart in twain,”—while cleave (to cling) sometimes has clove, as (from Holmes), “The old Latin tutor clove to Virgilius Maro.” In this confusion of usage, only one set remains certain,—cleave, cleft, cleft (to split).
Crew is seldom found in present-day English.
Not a cock crew, nor a dog barked.—Irving.
Our cock, which always crew at eleven, now told us it was time for repose.—Goldsmith.
Historically, drunk is the one correct past participle of the verb drink. But drunk is very much used as an adjective, instead of drunken (meaning intoxicated); and, probably to avoid confusion with this, drank is a good deal used as a past participle: thus,—
We had each drank three times at the well.—B. Taylor.
This liquor was generally drank by Wood and Billings. —Thackeray.
Sometimes in literary English, especially in that of an earlier period, it is found that the verb eat has the past tense and past participle eat (ĕt), instead of ate and eaten; as, for example,—
It ate the food it ne’er had eat.—Coleridge.
How fairy Mab the junkets eat.—Milton.
The island princes overboldHave eat our substance.—Tennyson.
This is also very much used in spoken and vulgar English.
The form gotten is little used, got being the preferred form of past participle as well as past tense. One example out of many is,—
We had all got safe on shore.—De Foe.
Hung and hanged both are used as the past tense and past participle of hang; but hanged is the preferred form when we speak of execution by hanging; as,
The butler was hanged.—Bible.
The verb sat is sometimes spelled sate; for example,—
Might we have sate and talked where gowans blow.—Wordsworth.
He sate him down, and seized a pen.—Byron.
“But I sate still and finished my plaiting.”—Kingsley.
Usually shear is a weak verb. Shorn and shore are not commonly used: indeed, shore is rare, even in poetry.
This heard Geraint, and grasping at his sword,Shore thro’ the swarthy neck.—Tennyson.
Shorn is used sometimes as a participial adjective, as “a shorn lamb,” but not much as a participle. We usually say, “The sheep were sheared” instead of “The sheep were shorn.”
Went is borrowed as the past tense of go from the old verb wend, which is seldom used except in poetry; for example,—
If, maiden, thou would’st wend with meTo leave both tower and town.—Scott.
Exercises.
(a) From the table (Sec. 245), make out lists of verbs having the same vowel changes as each of the following:—
  • 1. Fall, fell, fallen.
  • 2. Begin, began, begun.
  • 3. Find, found, found.
  • 4. Give, gave, given.
  • 5. Drive, drove, driven.
  • 6. Throw, threw, thrown.
  • 7. Fling, flung, flung.
  • 8. Break, broke, broken.
  • 9. Shake, shook, shaken.
  • 10. Freeze, froze, frozen.
(b) Find sentences using ten past-tense forms of strong verbs.
(c) Find sentences using ten past participles of strong verbs.
[To the Teacher,—These exercises should be continued for several lessons, for full drill on the forms.]
DEFECTIVE STRONG VERBS.
247.There are several verbs which are lacking in one or more principal parts. They are as follows:—
PRESENT.
PAST.
PRESENT.
PAST.
may
might
[ought]
ought
can
could
shall
should
[must]
must
will
would
248.May is used as either indicative or subjunctive, as it has two meanings. It is indicative when it expresses permission, or, as it sometimes does, ability, like the word can: it is subjunctive when it expresses doubt as to the reality of an action, or when it expresses wish, purpose, etc.
Indicative Use: Permission. Ability.
If I may lightly employ the Miltonic figure, “far off his coming shines.”—Winier.
A stripling arm might swayA mass no host could raise.—Scott.
His superiority none might question.—Channing.
Subjunctive use.
In whatever manner the separate parts of a constitution may be arranged, there is one general principle, etc.—Paine.
(See also Sec. 223.)
And from her fair and unpolluted fleshMay violets spring!—Shakespeare.
249.Can is used in the indicative only. The l in could did not belong there originally, but came through analogy with should and would. Could may be subjunctive, as in Sec. 220.
250.Must is historically a past-tense form, from the obsolete verb motan, which survives in the sentence, “So mote it be.” Must is present or past tense, according to the infinitive used.
All must concede to him a sublime power of action.—Channing
This, of course, must have been an ocular deception.—Hawthorne.
251.The same remarks apply to ought, which is historically the past tense of the verb owe. Like must, it is used only in the indicative mood; as,
The just imputations on our own faith ought first to be removed…. Have we valuable territories and important posts…which ought long sinceto have been surrendered?—A. Hamilton.
It will be noticed that all the other defective verbs take the pure infinitive without to, while ought always has to.
Shall and Will.
252.The principal trouble in the use of shall and will is the disposition, especially in the United States, to use will and would, to the neglect of shall and should, with pronouns of the first person; as, “I think I will go.”
Uses of shall and should.
The following distinctions must be observed:—
(1) With the FIRST PERSON, shall and should are used,—
Futurity and questions—first person.
(a) In making simple statements or predictions about future time; as,—
The time will come full soon, I shall be gone.—L. C. Moulton.
(b) In questions asking for orders, or implying obligation or authority resting upon the subject; as,—
With respect to novels, what shall I say?—N. Webster.
How shall I describe the luster which at that moment burst upon my vision?—C. Brockden Brown.
Second and third persons.
(2) With the SECOND AND THIRD PERSONS, shall and should are used,—
(a) To express authority, in the form of command, promise, or confident prediction. The following are examples:—
Never mind, my lad, whilst I live thou shalt never want a friend to stand by thee.—Irving.
They shall have venison to eat, and corn to hoe.—Cooper.
The sea shall crush thee; yea, the ponderous wave up the loose beach shall grind and scoop thy grave.—Thaxter.
She should not walk, he said, through the dust and heat ofthe noonday;Nay, she should ride like a queen, not plod along like apeasant.—Longfellow.
(b) In indirect quotations, to express the same idea that the original speaker put forth (i.e., future action); for example,—
He declares that he shall win the purse from you.—Bulwer.
She rejects his suit with scorn, but assures him that she shall make great use of her power over him.—Macaulay.
Fielding came up more and more bland and smiling, with the conviction that he should win in the end.—A. Larned.
Those who had too presumptuously concluded that they should pass without combat were something disconcerted.—Scott.
(c) With direct questions of the second person, when the answer expected would express simple futurity; thus,—
Should you like to go to school at Canterbury?”—Dickens.
First, second and third persons.
(3) With ALL THREE PERSONS,—
(a) Should is used with the meaning of obligation, and is equivalent to ought.
I never was what I should be.—H. James, Jr.
Milton! thou should’st be living at this hour.—Wordsworth.
He should not flatter himself with the delusion that he can make or unmake the reputation of other men.—Winter.
(b) Shall and should are both used in dependent clauses of condition, time, purpose, etc.; for example,—
When thy mindShall be a mansion for all stately forms.—Wordsworth.
Suppose this back-door gossip should be utterly blundering and untrue, would any one wonder?—Thackeray.
Jealous lest the sky should have a listener.—Byron.
If thou should’st ever come by chance or choice to Modena.—Rogers.
If I should be where I no more can hear thy voice.—Wordsworth.
That accents and looks so winning should disarm me of my resolution, was to be expected.—C. B. Brown.
253.Will and would are used as follows:—
Authority as to future action—first person.
(1) With the FIRST PERSON, will and would are used to express determination as to the future, or a promise; as, for example,—
I will go myself now, and will not return until all is finished.—Cable.
And promised…that I would do him justice, as the sole inventor.—Swift.
Disguising a command.
(2) With the SECOND PERSON, will is used to express command. This puts the order more mildly, as if it were merely expected action; as,—
Thou wilt take the skiff, Roland, and two of my people,… and fetch off certain plate and belongings.—Scott.
You will proceed to Manassas at as early a moment as practicable, and mark on the grounds the works, etc.—War Records.
Mere futurity.
(3) With both SECOND AND THIRD PERSONS, will and would are used to express simple futurity, action merely expected to occur; for example,—
All this will sound wild and chimerical.—Burke.
She would tell you that punishment is the reward of the wicked.—Landor.
When I am in town, you’ll always have somebody to sit with you. To be sure, so you will.—Dickens.
(4) With FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD PERSONS, would is used to express a wish,—the original meaning of the word will; for example,—
Subject I omitted: often so.
Would that a momentary emanation from thy glory would visit me!—C. B. Brown.
Thine was a dangerous gift, when thou wast born, The gift of Beauty. Would thou hadst it not.—Rogers
It shall be gold if thou wilt, but thou shalt answer to me for the use of it.—Scott.
What wouldst thou have a good great man obtain?—Coleridge.
(5) With the THIRD PERSON, will and would often denote an action as customary, without regard to future time; as,
They will go to Sunday schools, through storms their brothers are afraid of…. They will stand behind a table at a fair all day.—Holmes
On a slight suspicion, they would cut off the hands of numbers of the natives, for punishment or intimidation.—Bancroft.
In this stately chair would he sit, and this magnificent pipe would he smoke, shaking his right knee with a constant motion.—Irving.
Conjugation of Shall and Will as Auxiliaries (with Choose).
254.To express simply expected action:—
ACTIVE VOICE.
PASSIVE VOICE.
Singular.
Singular.
1. I shall choose.
I shall be chosen.
2. You will choose.
You will be chosen.
3. [He] will choose.
[He] will be chosen.
Plural.
Plural.
1. We shall choose.
We shall be chosen.
2. You will choose.
You will be chosen.
3. [They] will choose.
[They] will be chosen.
To express determination, promise, etc.:—
ACTIVE VOICE.
PASSIVE VOICE.
Singular.
Singular.
1. I will choose.
I will be chosen.
2. You shall choose.
You shall be chosen.
3. [He] shall choose.
[He] shall be chosen.
Plural.
Plural.
1. We will choose.
1. We will be chosen.
2. You shall choose.
2. You shall be chosen.
3. [They] shall choose.
3. [They] shall be chosen.
Exercises on Shall and Will.
(a) From Secs. 252 and 253, write out a summary or outline of the various uses of shall and will.
(b) Examine the following sentences, and justify the use of shall and will, or correct them if wrongly used:—
1. Thou art what I would be, yet only seem.
2. We would be greatly mistaken if we thought so.
3. Thou shalt have a suit, and that of the newest cut; the wardrobe keeper shall have orders to supply you.
4. “I shall not run,” answered Herbert stubbornly.
5. He informed us, that in the course of another day’s march we would reach the prairies on the banks of the Grand Canadian.
6. What shall we do with him? This is the sphinx-like riddle which we must solve if we would not be eaten.
7. Will not our national character be greatly injured? Will we not be classed with the robbers and destroyers of mankind?
8. Lucy stood still, very anxious, and wondering whether she should see anything alive.
9. I would be overpowered by the feeling of my disgrace.
10. No, my son; whatever cash I send you is yours: you will spend it as you please, and I have nothing to say.
11. But I will doubtless find some English person of whom to make inquiries.
12. Without having attended to this, we will be at a loss to understand several passages in the classics.
13. “I am a wayfarer,” the stranger said, “and would like permission to remain with you a little while.”
14. The beast made a sluggish movement, then, as if he would have more of the enchantment, stirred her slightly with his muzzle.
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.
Some Troublesome Verbs.
Lie and lay in use and meaning.
260.Some sets of verbs are often confused by young students, weak forms being substituted for correct, strong forms.
Lie and lay need close attention. These are the forms:—
Present Tense.
Past Tense.
Pres. Participle.
Past Participle.
1. Lie
lay
lying
lain
2. Lay
laid
laying
laid
The distinctions to be observed are as follows:—
(1) Lie, with its forms, is regularly intransitive as to use. As to meaning, lie means to rest, to recline, to place one’s self in a recumbent position; as, “There lies the ruin.”
(2) Lay, with its forms, is always transitive as to use. As to meaning, lay means to put, to place a person or thing in position; as, “Slowly and sadly we laid him down.” Also lay may be used without any object expressed, but there is still a transitive meaning; as in the expressions, “to lay up for future use,” “to lay on with the rod,” “to layabout him lustily.”
Sit and set.
261.Sit and set have principal parts as follows:—
Present Tense.
Past Tense.
Pres. Participle.
Past Participle.
1. Sit
sat
sitting
sat
2. Set
set
setting
set
Notice these points of difference between the two verbs:—
(1) Sit, with its forms, is always intransitive in use. In meaning, sit signifies (a) to place one’s self on a seat, to rest; (b) to be adjusted, to fit; (c) to cover and warm eggs for hatching, as, “The hen sits.”
(2) Set, with its forms, is always transitive in use when it has the following meanings: (a) to put or place a thing or person in position, as “He set down the book;” (b) to fix or establish, as, “He sets a good example.”
Set is intransitive when it means (a) to go down, to decline, as, “The sun has set;” (b) to become fixed or rigid, as, “His eyes set in his head because of the disease;” (c) in certain idiomatic expressions, as, for example, “to set out,” “to set up in business,” “to set about a thing,” “to set to work,” “to set forward,” “the tide sets in,” “a strong wind set in,” etc.
Exercise.
Examine the forms of lie, lay, sit and set in these sentences; give the meaning of each, and correct those used wrongly.
1. If the phenomena which lie before him will not suit his purpose, all history must be ransacked.
2. He sat with his eyes fixed partly on the ghost and partly on Hamlet, and with his mouth open.
3. The days when his favorite volume set him upon making wheelbarrows and chairs,… can never again be the realities they were.
4. To make the jacket sit yet more closely to the body, it was gathered at the middle by a broad leathern belt.
5. He had set up no unattainable standard of perfection.
6. For more than two hundred years his bones lay undistinguished.
7. The author laid the whole fault on the audience.
8. Dapple had to lay down on all fours before the lads could bestride him.
9.
And send’st him…to his gods where happy liesHis petty hope in some near port or bay,And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.
10. Achilles is the swift-footed when he is sitting still.
11. It may be laid down as a general rule, that history begins in novel, and ends in essay.
12. I never took off my clothes, but laid down in them.


VERBALS.
Definition.
262.Verbals are words that express action in a general way, without limiting the action to any time, or asserting it of any subject.
Kinds.
Verbals may be participles, infinitives, or gerunds.
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