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8.8: Lesson Thirty-two

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More Suffixes Spelled <en>

1. -en^4 changes nouns into verbs. This is actually the same as -en^3, but we will treat them separately because of the difference between having adjectives or nouns as stems.

Verb = Noun + Suffix
frighten = fright + en
happen = hap + p + en
hasten = hast\cancel{e} + en
hearten = heart + en
heighten = height + en
lengthen = length + en
strengthen = strength + en
threaten = threat + en

2. -en^5 past participle ending. You have seen that verbs usually add the suffix -ed to show that an action took place in the past. Verbs with that -ed suffix are called past tense verbs. We also often use the suffix -ed at the end of verbs that are called past participle verbs. Past participle verbs are like past tense verbs (notice that they both have the word past in their names). But past participles have an additional meaning. They have the meaning “action that is completed.”

Compare the two sentences “They are finishing their chores” and “They have finished their chores.” The first sentence, with finishing, means that the work of doing the chores is still going on, but the second sentence, with finished with the suffix -ed, means that the work is over or completed, the chores are done. The verb finished in the second sentence is a past partciple.

Most past participles, like most past tense verbs, end with the suffix -ed, but some old past participles end with the suffix -en: Compare “They are eating their breakfast” with “They have eaten their breakfast.” The first sentence, with -ing, means that they are not done eating yet. The second sentence, with -en, means that they have finished eating. The verb eaten in the second sentence is a past participle.

3. Analyze each of the following past participles into verb plus suffix:

Past Participle = Verb + Suffix
beaten = beat + en
broken = brok\cancel{e} + en
chosen = chos\cancel{e} + en
driven = driv\cancel{e} + en
eaten = eat + en
fallen = fall + en
forbidden = forbid + d + en
frozen = froz\cancel{e} + en
given = giv\cancel{e} + en
proven = prov\cancel{e} + en

4. Now try some the other way around. Add each verb and suffix to make a past participle:

Verb + Suffix = Past Participle
ris\cancel{e} + en = risen
spok\cancel{e} + en = spoken
stol\cancel{e} + en = stolen
tak\cancel{e} + en = taken
got + t + en = gotten
forbid + d + en = forbidden
mistak\cancel{e} + en = mistaken
forgot + t + en = forgotten
overtak\cancel{e} + en = overtaken
aris\cancel{e} + en = arisen

5. Many past participles are used as adjectives, and many of these adjectives appear in compound words. Analyze each of the following compounds:

Compound Word = Free Stem #1 + Verb + Suffix
browbeaten = brow + beat + en
downfallen = down + fall + en
heartbroken = heat + brok\cancel{e} + en
housebroken = house + hous\cancel{e} + en
outspoken = out + spok\cancel{e} + en
overtaken = over + tak\cancel{e} + en
weatherbeaten = weather + beat + en
downtrodden = down + trod + d + en
handwoven = hand + wov\cancel{e} + en
undertaken = under + tak\cancel{e} + en

Teaching Notes.

Item 2. Past participles can lead directly to the wonderful intricacy of verb phrases, by which we organize time and signal our perspective on the actions we talk about. As part of the complete verb, or verb phrase, past participles must always have some form of the helping verbs be or have or both preceding them: The wallet was stolen. He has stolen the wallet. The wallet has been stolen. He had stolen the wallet. He could have stolen the wallet. He should not have stolen the wallet. The wallet could have been stolen. And so on. But past participles are also very common as adjectives: the stolen wallet.

It is easy enough to see why past participles have the word past in their name. The participle is less obvious: It comes from the Latin participium “a sharing or partaking.” Participle is related to participate. In English participle originally referred to a person or thing that partook of the nature of two different species. This now-obsolete meaning is clear in this 17^{\mathrm{th}} century quotation from Sir Thomas Herbert: “Bats, flying fish, and Seals be participles of nature and species of a doubtful kind, participating both of Bird and Beast.” Our participles are so called because they participate both of verb and adjective.

A number of verbs have two past participle forms, one with -(e)n, one with -ed. Among the most common are mow (mowed, mown), prove (proved, proven), sew (sewed, sewn), show (showed, shown), swell (swelled, swollen).

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Feb 23, 2012

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