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  1. Valaraukar

    A question about irregular verbs which can't be answered :(

    I'm learning English only at school but I hope you will understand me. I'm interested rather in literary style, even in archaic. I've got a question and I'm frustrated for nobody could answer me.
    I know that a lot of verbs have irregular and regular forms (for example - 'dwell') and in the UK the regular is more common. But I noticed that in books written by English writers the regular forms of the verbs: dream, burn, bless, leap, smell and learn - in Past Simple are more common. Nay! in "The Hobbit" (J.R.R.Tolkien) - I didn't found any "dreamt" or "burnt". I also saw "I blessed him" in the Biblie, and so forth.
    I know that the regular forms are often used as adjectives or participles ("a dreamed house"). But why in Past Simple?!

    I hope that there's someone who can help me...


  2. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • UK
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      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    Re: A question about irregular verbs which can't be answered :(

    I really can't help- I actually find myself using both the regular and irregular forms.

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: A question about irregular verbs which can't be answered :(

    Having to remember which verbs take -ed and which verbs take -t is not all that efficient for the language user. In Nature, as well as in other systems, the more regular the system, the more efficient the system. That strive for effeciency is the driving force behind irregular forms becoming regular (e.g., in language, BrE: learnt ~ learned. 'learnt' is not all that common these days in BrE. That's not to say British speakers are adopting American forms. No, not that. The reason has to do what's easier to remember. Verbs that end in both -ed and -t (e.g., burned, burnt; dreamed, dreamt) share a common characteristic with verbs that end in -ed (e.g., walked, lifted). Given that irregular system (i.e., some have both forms, some have one form) it's more efficient to divide the suffixes:

    Use -ed for verbs (walked, burned, dreamed), and leave -t for participles (dreamt, burnt).

    Please note, blest, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English,is considered poetical. That is, blessed is the common past form.

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