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Goodbye, irregular verbs. February 2, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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One of the things that makes English such a rich, interesting, and maddeningly complicated language is that so many languages contibuted to its development. This resulted in lots of different words for basically the same thing, lots of words that look the same but sound different or mean different things, lots of words that look different but are pronounced the same way. It also resulted in some quirky and eccentric exceptions to rules, such as the irregular verbs, examples of which are past-tense verbs that end in “-t” rather than “-ed.”

Our friend Ben has been saddened to see that these irregular verbs appear to be disappearing from the rich alphabet soup of our language. In recent years, “dreamt” and “knelt” have been overtaken by “dreamed” and “kneeled.” “Wept” and “crept” have been snuck up on by “weeped” and “creeped.” (On a related note, “sneaked” is gaining ground on “snuck.”) “Slept” and “kept” seem to still be holding their ground, but I fear that soon “sleeped” and “keeped” will replace them. No doubt “ran” and “swam” will soon be “runned” and “swimmed.”

It is in the nature of a living language to grow and change. But, as a lover of words, I hate to lose them.

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