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    #1

    Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    Given the definition

    Weak verbs - a weak verb is one that has a d, -ed, or- t ending for its past tense.
    Strong verbs a strong verb is the one which forms its past tense by ablaut (the change of the root vowel, root vowel gradation)
    how would you categorize the two following verbs: be, make?

    Neither verb quite falls under either definition and I am not sure.

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    #2

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    I am used to seeing the categories "regular" and "irregular." And "be" is definitely irregular.

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    #3

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    Not a teacher.

    Weak/strong is the Old English category.

    Weak verbs = all regular + a lot of irregular. It's not clear-cut.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 26-May-2015 at 19:12. Reason: Added "Not a teacher".

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    #4

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    I would stick with regular and irregular verbs, if I were you. It's the terminology used in grammar books and by the majority of teachers. There is also a clear definition of each one.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    I'd love to stick to regular/irregular verbs but I can't. I'm sitting an exam the day after tomorrow and I must find my answer.

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    #6

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    Well, then, I guess you'll have to go with "strong" if it's what we call "regular" and "weak" if it's anything else. If the past simple of any verb you're presented with doesn't end with -ed, d or t, then you'll have to call it weak, I suppose.

    Out of curiosity, what exam is it that you are taking which still uses these terms?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    For the record, it is the opposite - weak (regular+some irregular) and strong (irregular).

    The classes is called History of the English Language :)

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    #8

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    Apologies - I got them the wrong way round.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    Yeah, talk about old terminology. The terms weak/strong are a holdover from Old and Middle English grammar, back when English was much more Germanic.

    The terms weak and strong come from German grammar, where verbs are either weak (regular), strong (irregular), or a 3rd mixed option of irregular weak.

    Strong verbs in German have vowel changes in the root/stem in various tenses, which is where all those drastic past and past participle changes in English irregular verbs like 'sing sang sung' come from.

    German mixed verbs morphed into those less drastic irregular modern English verbs like 'eat ate eaten'

    And, as others have said, the weak verbs roughly correspond to English regular verbs.

    I didn't think it was still used anymore for English grammar. As I recall, the idea was something like weak verbs were too weak to form a past tense without leaning on some kind of ending 'crutch', while a strapping hearty strong verb, haven eaten its Wheaties for breakfast, could flex it's congugational muscles and form a whole new word for the past tense. It didn't need no stinking tense ending.

    That's probably paraphrased somewhat....
    Last edited by Skrej; 27-May-2015 at 20:31.

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    #10

    Re: Is "be" a weak or a strong verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by bester View Post

    The classes is called History of the English Language. :)
    This tells us nothing about who runs the course or why you need to take an exam.

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