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Thread: eye - eyed

  1. #1
    MrRubik is offline Newbie
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    eye - eyed

    Why does eye become eyed in 'the blue-eyed boy'? Also, 'the three-legged dog', are there any rules to creating these forms?

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: eye - eyed

    I don't know of a rule, and I've never felt the need to look for one. If someone has something, you use the participle.

    He has blue eyes -> he is blue-eyed
    She has brown eyes -> she is brown-eyed
    The pig has a pot-belly -> it is a pot-bellied pig
    The stool has three legs -> it is a three-legged stool
    He has short hair -> he is short-haired
    The man is wearing a blue suit - the blue-suited man ...[this is always attributive - it'd be most strange to say 'The man is blue-suited']

    Some languages handle attributes differently, but I think the English usage is quite consistent (in this case, that is)

    b

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: eye - eyed

    Quote Originally Posted by MrRubik View Post
    Why does eye become eyed in 'the blue-eyed boy'? Also, 'the three-legged dog', are there any rules to creating these forms?

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) I have not found a "rule," but I have found a little information.

    (2) You can change some nouns to an adjective by adding the letters -ed

    at the end:

    The city has a wall. It is a walled city.(A special ending such as -ed,

    -ing, etc., is called a SUFFIX.)

    (3) You can do this to some noun phrases, too:

    Tom has blue eyes. Therefore, he is a blue-eyed man.

    (4) As you have already guessed, when -ed is used this way

    with a noun or noun phrase, -ed = "having."

    ***

    This information comes from A Comprehensive Grammar of the English

    Language, by Professor Randolph Quirk et. al. It is not recommended

    for beginning learners.

    If you google "English suffixes," you will probably find more information

    about the suffix -ed.

  4. #4
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: eye - eyed

    I believe the logic behind it is this: in English you can verb nouns (which I've just done with the noun "verb"). So, a missing mental link between "blue eyes" and "blue-eyed" would be a verb "to blue-eye" which would mean "to give blue eyes to" ("blue-eyed" would be a regular past participle then).

    It would be great to learn the history of the construction.

  5. #5
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    Re: eye - eyed

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I believe the logic behind it is this: in English you can verb nouns (which I've just done with the noun "verb"). So, a missing mental link between "blue eyes" and "blue-eyed" would be a verb "to blue-eye" which would mean "to give blue eyes to" ("blue-eyed" would be a regular past participle then).

    It would be great to learn the history of the construction.
    I think that's a very good (and likely) explanation. (But I agree that it would be good to know for sure...).

    b

  6. #6
    MrRubik is offline Newbie
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    Re: eye - eyed

    Thanks for the information and thoughts on this. I know how verbs can be changed into adjectives by using them in past participle form, e.g. the drunken man but in reference to birdeen's call I don't agree. With TheParser's example, wall to walled, it works but a verb from the noun eye doesn't make sense to me. The key aspect for me in most of the examples is that they are all compound adjectives, an adjective-noun form then being used as an adjective itself for another noun. They do look like verbs in there construction though, even the way the noun changes from a stand-alone noun to a noun being used in a compound adjective is very verb-like, consider, belly to bellied in 'pot-bellied pig', with the verbs, bully to bullied, hurry to hurried. I don't know how to explain the gemination of the g in 'three legs' to 'three-legged' from a verb point of view though, unless the s indicating plurality is altered into another g or if it is required for fluency because of the sounds involved. I don't know! Are there any verb forms that do this consonant gemination from present to past form?

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: eye - eyed

    Eye can be a verb- he eyed them up. And the same is true for most of the examples- belly can be a verb, though I have only seen it in dictionaries.

    Also, as we have the concept of using the present and past participles as adjectives, I don't see that we need for every adjective that looks like a past participle to come from a genuine verb.

    With leg/legged/leggings, doubling the final letter is common- put/putting, bin/binned- it doesn't indicate plurality. One syllable verbs ending with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel double the consonant in the -ing & -ed forms.

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