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'I was weary forwandred,
And went me to reste.'

Piers Plowman, Vision. i.e.' to rest myself.' In poetry, the same usage still prevails, as

• I'll lay me down, and die.' Intransitive Verbs are used in one form only, which corresponds, in point of

form, with the Active voice of verbs Transi

tive; as,

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The boy runs.

The girls laugh. Many Transitive verbs in English are used Intransitively; as, He broke the glass

(Transitive). The glass broke

(Intransitive) He rolled the stone

(Transitive). The stone rolled

(Intransitive). Many Intransitive verbs, compounded with a preposition, become Transitive. And since in English the preposition frequently follows the verb, students are apt to forget that the verb, in such cases, becomes a Compound Verb; so, He laughed

(Intransitive) They laughed at him

(Transitive). Intransitive verbs are sometimes followed by a noun in the objective case, when that noun bears a meaning akin to the signification of the verb; as, 'to sleep a sleep,'' to run a race,' to die the death.'

In Latin grammar this objective is called the cognate accusative.'

CONJUGATION. 325. To conjugate literally means to yoke together; and, as used by grammarians, it means to place under one view the variations (or inflections) in the form of a verb.

Hence Conjugation is the arrangement of the several inflections of a verb, in its different Voices, Moods, Tenses, Numbers, and Persons.

Until late years, English verbs were commonly divided into wo classes, termed Regular and Irregular. The distinction was thus explained :

Regular Verbs are those in which the past tense and the

perfect participle are formed by adding to the verb -ed, or -d only, when the verb ends in -e; as call, call-ed; love, love-d.

Irregular verbs are those that vary from this rule, in

either or both instances.—See Lowth, English Gram

mar, p. 71. More recent grammarians have contended that verbs of the latter kind are not really irregular, but that they are formed according to rules specially applicable to themselves. And since the verbs termed Regular are formed by addition to the root, while the so-called Irregular verbs are fornied, in most instances, by internal change of the root-vowel-as take, took ; shake, shook; the Regulars have been called Weak verbs, and the Irregulars Strong verbs.

But other grammarians consider these terms fanciful and objectionable. They remark, truly enough, that all derivatives, all verbs borrowed from other languages, in short all new verbs, are formed in the first method, by adding -ed or -d. It is also a fact, that many verbs, which once formed their past tense by change of vowel, now take the form in -ed, -d, or -t; as lep, slep, mew, snew, now take the form leapt, slept, mowed, snowed.

Hence we may infer, that there is a tendency for the one form to be displaced by the other; and the more we compare the older stages of our language with the newer, the more clearly we see that such is actually the case.' -Latham, English Grammar, $ 136.

For these reasons, some grammarians prefer the terms New and Old Conjugation ; assigning Regular verbs to the New, and Irregular verbs to the Old But these terms are liable to mislead the student, for many verbs in the New conjugation are historically as old as verbs in the other. 326. We have, then, the following comparison of terms :1. Regular


New 2. Irregular


Old. Now, we observe that all these terms involve a theory; and, as a matter of course, the advocates of each fresh proposal condemn their predecessors; because, unless the former terms were objectionable, there was no necessity for change. But, in the present state of our knowledge, we should beware of giving names which involve any theory whatever, because future investigations may prove that our terms have been unadvisedly imposed.

It appears safer to divide verbs into the First and Second conjugations.

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VERBS OF THE FIRST CONJUGATION. 327. Verbs of the First Conjugation form their Past Tense and Perfect Participle by adding -ed to the root of the verb, or -d alone, if the verb itself ends in -e: as, call call-ed

call-ed move-d

move-d. But certain changes take place, according to the letters in which the verb itself terminates.

When the verb ends in -y, with a consonant immediately preceding, the Y is turned into i in the past tense and the perfect participle: as,

reply replied replied. But if the -y be preceded by a vowel, -ed is generally added : as,

delay delayed delayed

convey conveyed conveyed. Yet not always; for sometimes the e is dropped, and the y is changed into i : as,




said. Sometimes, too, authors differ in their way of writing : from the verb stay, some will write stayed, others staid.

328. With reference to verbs ending in a single consonant, the rules are uncertain. We are told that when the verb ends in a single consonant, which has a single vowel immediately before it, the final consonant is doubled in the past tense and the perfect participle : as,


rapped rapped. But this rule holds good only for words of one syllable ; for with verbs of more than one syllable, the consonant is not doubled, unless the accent be on the last syllable: thus we write, open

opened opened, but refer

referred referred. Yet, even here, usage is not consistent. There is a tendency to double the letters 1, p, and t: we constantly see levelled, bigotted, rivetted, worshipped. Unless my memory deceives me, I have seen benefitted in a leading article of the Times. The word unparalleled is constantly written with one l before -ed, to avoid an accumulation of consonants. The Americans, following Dr. Webster, generally observe the strict rule, and do not double the consonant, unless the accent falls upon the last syllable of the root.

329. But we have to consider the doctrine of contraction. In all languages, there is a tendency to abbreviation, and we generally pronounce more briefly than we write; we say lov'd, mov'd for lověd, mověd. Archdeacon Hare proposed that, following the example of Spenser and Milton, we should adopt that form of writing which expresses the found. For example, Spenser writes lookt, pluckt, nurst, kist; and Milton has hurld, worshipt, confest. According to this view the rule would be, where e is omitted in the past tense and perfect participle, the d becomes t after l, m, n, p, k, f, gh, and s; as dealt, dreamt, learnt, crept, crackt, reft, sought, kist." At present our usage is not uniform ; some write dropt, others dropped; and many who write dropt, would scruple to use wisht and jumpt, for wished and jumped. To show the inconsistency of our custom, Archdeacon Hare quotes this stanza from Coleridge's Genevieve :

Her bosom heaved, she stepped aside,
As conscious of my look she stepped
Then suddenly, with timorous eye,

She fled to me and wept. There is no reason why we should not write stept, just as we write wept.

But the English language is full of these inconsistencies.

If the root of a verb ends in a double consonant, one of the two is always rejected before -d or -t: as, dwell dwelt


spilt. Hence if the e of dropped is omitted, the word becomes dropt.

330. Many verbs of this conjugation, besides adding -d or -t, admit changes of the internal vowel. We therefore make the following divisions :

I. Verbs forming their past tense and perfect participle by adding -d or -t, and by shortening the vowel of the root. (1) Verbs ending in a vowel : flee fled

fled lose lost




(2) Verbs ending in -1:


felt. In dealt the shortening is not exhibited to the eye; but the word is pronounced delt, (3) Verb ending in -n :


(4) Verbs ending in -p:





wept. In bereave and leave there is not only a shortening of the vowel, but a change of consonant, v'd becoming f't: bereave bereft


left. II. Verbs forming their past tense and perfect partíciple, by adding -d or -t, and by changing the vowel of the root : as, sell sold


told. With verbs ending in k, g, ch, not only is there a change of vowel, but the final consonant of the root is changed into gh. (1) Verbs ending in -k: seek sought

sought think thought thought

work wrought wrought. (2) Verb ending in -g (or rather in -ng):

bring brought brought. (3) Verbs ending in -ch:

catch caught caught be-seech be-sought be-sought teach

taught taught. In Old English, the verb reach was conjugated, reach

raught raught. So Chaucer says of the Prioresse, Full semely after her mete she raught.

Canterbury Tales, Prologue.

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