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8.5: Lesson Twenty-nine

Created by: CK-12

Some Verbs That End With <t>

1. You have seen that sometimes the suffix -ed sounds like [t]. Nowadays when we want to add the meaning “in the past” to a verb, we nearly always just add the suffix -ed. But long ago with some verbs the suffix that meant “in the past” not only sounded like [t], it was sometimes spelled <t>! A few of those old verbs are still with us. For example: feel and felt, as in “I feel good now, but yesterday I felt pretty bad.”

2. In feel is the vowel sound long or is it short? long In felt is the vowel long or is it short? short In feel how is the vowel spelled? <ee> In felt how is the vowel spelled? <e> In felt how is the [t] spelled? <t>

3. In the left column below there are more old past tense verbs with -t. Write out the present tense form for each one and fill in the two columns on the right, as we have done for felt.

How is the vowel pronounced and spelled in...
Past Tense Verb Present Tense Verb the present tense verb? the past tense verb?
felt feel [\bar{e}] = <ee> [e] = <e>
kept keep [\bar{e}] = <ee> [e] = <e>
slept sleep [\bar{e}] = <ee> [e] = <e>
crept creep [\bar{e}] = <ee> [e] = <e>

4. Here are more verbs that have old past tense forms that end with <t>. This time we've given you the present tense form, and you are to fill in the past tense form:

How is the vowel pronounced and spelled in...
Present Tense Verb Past Tense Verb the present tense verb? the past tense verb?
deal dealt [\bar{e}] = <ea> [e] = <ea>
sweep swept [\bar{e}] = <e> [e] = <e>
send sent [\bar{e}] = <e> [e] = <e>
mean meant [\bar{e}] = <ea> [e] = <ea>
weep wept [\bar{e}] = <ee> [e] = <e>
spend spent [e] = <e> [e] = <e>
build built [i] = <ui> [i] = <ui>
bend bent [e] = <e> [e] = <e>
lend lent [e] = <e> [e] = <e>
lose lost [\bar{u}] = <o> [o] = <o>
leave left [\bar{e}] = <ea> [e] = <e>

5. Here are some more that have more elaborate changes:

How is the vowel pronounced and spelled in...
Present Tense Verb Past Tense Verb the present tense verb? the past tense verb?
buy bought [i] = <uy> [o] = <ou>
catch caught [a] = <a> [o] = <au>
bring brought [i] = <i> [o] = <ou>
seek sought [\bar{e}] = <ee> [o] = <ou>
teach taught [\bar{e}] = <ea> [o] = <au>
think thought [i] = <i> [o] = <ou>

Word Flow. In this flow you can trace out fourteen words: seven present tense verbs and their past tense forms that end in -t.

Present Tense Past Tense
bend bent
lend lent
mean meant
send sent
spend spent
sweep swept
weep wept

Teaching Notes.

The old -t forms were more common in the past than they are now. Several have completely disappeared: Milton had banisht for banished, and at times in the past kissed was kist, placed was plac't, earned was earnt. Tost, for tossed, is now marked “Literary,” as in storm-tost. So the beginning speaker who says *sleeped is following an old historical precedent.

There are several pairs in which the -t form is still in the process of being replaced by -ed. In general, American English favors the more regular -ed form, and in the following pairs the -t form is often marked “Chiefly British”: burnt, burned; dreamt, dreamed; knelt, kneeled; leant, leaned; leapt, leaped; learnt, learned; smelt, smelled; spelt, spelled; spilt, spilled; spoilt, spoiled. In a few cases the two forms have taken on separate meanings, as in past vs. passed; pent vs. penned; bereft vs. bereaved.

Notice that with the -t forms sometimes there is no change in the verb sound or spelling (send, sent), sometimes there is change in the verb sound but not in its spelling (mean, meant), and sometimes there is change in both the sound and the spelling (buy, bought).

Word Flow. This flow also allows the pair lean and the usually British leant.

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1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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CK.ENG.ENG.TE.1.Basic-Speller.8.5

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