History of irregular verbs

When you start to think that you understand a little English grammar, you come across irregular verbs.

There are about 200 irregular verbs in English, and they are a pain because you can only remember them.

And if you think that it is difficult, then read our article in which we will tell the history of irregular verbs and this will help you understand and accept irregular verbs. Hopefully, this  will speed up the process of learning them)

So how did these irregular verbs come about?

The next time you try to decide whether you have run or have ran home from work, thank the Saxons and Angles. These old guys were members of the Germanic tribes who invaded England in about 500 AD. Their languages ​​mixed and formed a language called Englisc. It is currently called "Old English".

Englisc had been around for about 400 years and today will look and sound like a foreign language to English speakers. Although it is no longer there, Old English is not forgotten. Remnants of it remain in modern speech. You can thank (or blame) the Anglo-Saxons for most of the irregular verbs, including saying "ran" rather than "runned".

During the Middle English period (1100-1450), there were many dialects in England, with their own vocabulary and sentence structure. In school, no one studied grammar and no one worried about what was right and what was wrong (there were several other important items on the agenda at that time, including hunger and bubonic plague).

In the fifteenth century, the printing press was invented and the era of modern English began. At that time, people were more interested in learning how to read ads, as well as writing articles for publication. But the writers faced a new problem. Sending words to a different part of the country could mean sending them to someone with a different vocabulary and sentence structure, not to mention the fact that everyone had their own spelling. Suddenly the rules seemed like a good idea. Since London was the center of economic and public life, as well as the center of printing, what the metropolitan printers thought was right soon became true throughout the rest of Britain.

Learning irregular verbs is not easy, even for native speakers, not to mention us =). Therefore, their number tends to decrease over time, as rarely used irregular verbs become regular ones (because many people do not know their forms and simply add the ending ed to them). For example, the verb chide (to reproach) once had the irregular past tense chid, but eventually became chided. Since the time of Old English, the number of irregular verbs has been halved (it's hard to imagine but it really could be worse now =)).

Anyone who learns basic irregulars, makes a big step in learning English, so I recommend reading our articles on this topic.

Speak English and contribute to its simplifying, and we will be happy to help you with this =).

Author: Andrew Shapovalov

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