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definition - English conjugation tables

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English conjugation tables

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English grammar series
English grammar
This is a paradigm of English verbs, that is, a set of conjugation tables, for some of the most common verb classes.

Verb Parts

In terms of verb inflection, English is actually a very simple language, having only two finite tenses (present and preterite), and a present and preterite participle. All other constructions are conveyed with combinations of various auxiliaries in the verb phrase.(with the exception of a third person singular marking).

Conjugations

Weak verbs are the largest class of English verbs. Occasionally, weak verbs will have consonantal or vowel alternations (e.g. think).[1]

Weak Verbs
PresentPresent (Third Person Singular)PreteritePresent ParticiplePreterite Participle
playplaysplayedplayingplayed

Strong verbs use ablaut, in seven classes, in their inflection.[1]

Strong Verbs
ClassPresentPresent (Third Person Singular)PreteritePresent ParticiplePreterite Participle
1rideridesroderidingridden
2flyfliesflewflyingflown
3singsingssangsingingsung
4breakbreaksbrokebreakingbroken
5givegivesgavegivinggiven
6shakeshakesshookshakingshaken
7throwthrowsthrewthrowingthrown

Preterite Present verbs have no participles, and do not inflect for number. Some of these verbs exist in a subjunctive mood, but generally, the subjunctive mood has become divorced in meaning from the main verb and formed its own verb.

Preterite Present (lacking some forms)
PresentPresent (Third Person Singular)PreteritePresent ParticiplePreterite Participle
cancancouldnonenone

The verbs do, will, and go, are anomalous. Will has no preterite or participles (it marks future tense), but there are forms such as would and willing, which are based on archaic use of will.

Do, Will, Go (often used as auxiliaries)
ClassPresentPresent (Third Person Singular)PreteritePresent ParticiplePreterite Participle
dododoesdiddoingdone
willwillwillnonenonenone
gogogoeswentgoinggone

The verb be is unusual, as the verb is an amalgam of three other verbs.

Be (infinitive to be)
TenseFirst Person SingularSecond Person SingularThird Person singularPluralParticiple
Presentamareisarebeing
Preteritewaswerewaswerebeen

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The World's Major Languages, Bernard Comrie, Ed.

 

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