Strong and Weak Verbs

The main tenses of a verb are the present, the past and the past participle. All other tenses are formed from these three tense forms.

Examine the main tenses of the following verbs:

  1. Post (present), posted (past), posted (past participle)
  2. Flee, fled, fled
  3. Feel,felt,felt

In the first, the vowel sound remains unchanged in the past and -ed is added. In the second, the vowel sound changes and -d is added. A verb which forms its past participle by adding -ed, -d or -t to the present tense, with or without a change in the main vowel sound is called a weak verb.

Now look at the following examples:

  1. Give, gave, given
  2. Abide, abode, abode
  3. Sit, sat, sat

In all these verbs, the vowel sound changes in the past tense,but no ending is added as in the case of weak verbs. A verb which forms its past tense by a change in the main vowel of the present tense and without the addition of any ending is called a strong verb.

There are two kinds of strong verbs:

a) Those that form their past participle by the addition of n,en or ne.
b) Those that form the past participle without any such addition.

Sections in this article

What are verbs?


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