Chapter 12: Weak Verbs

Weak Verbs are verbs which add an ending to a verb stem to indicate person, number, tense, and mood.

 

Most verbs in Modern English behave like weak verbs.

Walk ==> Walked is an example of a weak verb.

 

 

All Weak Verbs fall into three patterns of endings, called Conjugations.

 

First Conjugation Weak Verbs: The stem generally ends in a consonant (these are the most common weak verbs).

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs: The stem generally ends in a vowel (these are less common than first conjugation weak verbs).

Third Conjugation Weak Verbs: These verbs don't fit into the first two conjugations. Luckily there are only three that you really need to worry about.

First Conjugation Weak Verbs

As with all conjugations, you begin with the infinitive, which ends in "an".

The infinitive is the form of the verb listed in the dictionary.

Subtract "an" to find the stem of the verb.

Add the endings in the table below to the stem to form the appropriate form of the verb.

 

Weak 1st Conjugation Verbs: Paradigms

First Conjugation Weak Verbs, Indicative Mood

Present Tense

Singular  
1st Person e
2nd Person est
3rd Person
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons iaþ

Past Tense

Singular
1st Person de
2nd Person dest
3rd Person de
Plural
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons don

 

First Conjugation Weak Verbs, Subjunctive Mood

Present Tense

Singular  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons e
Plural
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons en

 

Past Tense

Singular  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons de
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons den

 

First Conjugation Weak Verbs, Imperative Mood

(can only be in the 2nd person and only in present tense)

Singular  
2nd Person stem minus final letter
Plural  
2nd Person

 

Inflected Infinitive: to (stem+anne)

Present Participle: stem + ende

Past Participle: stem + ed

 

 

Weak 1st Conjugation Verbs Examples

 

Infinitive: deman = "to judge"

 

First Conjugation Weak Verbs, Indicative Mood: Examples

Present Tense

Singular  
1st Person deme
2nd Person demest
3rd Person demeð
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons demiaþ

Past Tense

Singular
1st Person demde
2nd Person demdest
3rd Person demde
Plural
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons demdon

 

First Conjugation Weak Verbs, Subjunctive Mood: Examples

Present Tense

Singular  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons deme
Plural
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons demen

 

Past Tense

Singular  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons demde
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons demden

 

First Conjugation Weak Verbs, Imperative Mood: Examples

(can only be in the 2nd person and only in present tense)

Singular  
2nd Person dem
Plural  
2nd Person demaþ

 

Inflected Infinitive: to demanne

Present Participle: demende

Past Participle: demed

 

 

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs

Second Conjugation verbs have "ian" in the infinitive.

 

As for all conjugations, you begin with the infinitive, which ends in "an".

The infinitive is the form of the verb listed in the dictionary.

Subtract "an" to find the stem of the verb.

Add the endings in the table below to the stem to form the appropriate form of the verb.

 

Weak 2nd Conjugation Verbs paradigms

(All endings in the tables are added to the stem of the verb)

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs, Indicative Mood

Present Tense

Singular  
1st Person e
2nd Person ast
3rd Person
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons iaþ

You'll notice that the only major difference from the First Conjugation paradigm is that "e" has been replaced with "a" in the second and third persons.

Past Tense

Singular  
1st Person ode
2nd Person odest
3rd Person ode
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons odon

The only difference from the first conjugation is that "o" is added before the ending. For a few verbs "a" is added instead of "o".

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs, Subjunctive Mood

Present Tense

Singular  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons ie
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons ien

The only difference from the first conjugation is that "i" that is added before the ending.

Past Tense

Singular
1st, 2nd, 3rd Person ode
Plural  
1st, 2nd, 3rd Person oden

The only difference from the first conjugation is that "o" that is added before the ending.

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs, Imperative Mood

(can only be in the 2nd person and only in present tense)

Singular  
2nd Person a
Plural
2nd Person iaþ

 

Inflected Infinitive: to stem+ianne (a few words use "eanne")

Present Participle: stem+iende (a few words use "ende")

Past Participle: stem+od (a few words use "d")

 

Weak Second Conjugation Verbs: Examples

(All endings in the tables are added to the stem of the verb)

Infinitive is "bodian" = to proclaim.

Stem is therefore "bod"

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs, Indicative Mood: Examples

Present Tense

Singular  
1st Person bodie
2nd Person bodast
3rd Person bodaþ
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons bodiaþ

You'll notice that the only major difference from the First Conjugation paradigm is that "e" has been replaced with "a" in the second and third persons.

Past Tense

Singular  
1st Person bodode
2nd Person bododest
3rd Person bodode
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons bododon

The only difference from the first conjugation is that "o" is added before the ending. For a few verbs "a" is added instead of "o".

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs, Subjunctive Mood: Examples

Present Tense

Singular  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons bodie
Plural  
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons bodien

The only difference from the first conjugation is that "i" that is added before the ending.

Past Tense

Singular
1st, 2nd, 3rd Person bodode
Plural  
1st, 2nd, 3rd Person bododen

The only difference from the first conjugation is that "o" that is added before the ending.

Second Conjugation Weak Verbs, Imperative Mood: Examples

(can only be in the 2nd person and only in present tense)

Singular  
2nd Person boda
Plural
2nd Person bodiaþ

 

Inflected Infinitive: to bodianne

Present Participle: bodiende

Past Participle:bodod

 

 

Third Conjugation Weak Verbs

There are very few Third Conjugation Weak Verbs, and they all have various quirks in their conjugations. Therefore instead of presenting a set of endings, this page will simply show the full conjugations for the three most common and important Third Conjugation Verbs.

Infinitives:

habban = to have

libban (or lifian) = to live

secgan (or secgean) = to say

 

Weak 3rd Conjugation Verbs paradigms

 

Third Conjugation Verbs, Indicative Mood

 

Present Tense

Singular      
1st Person hæbbe libbe or lifge secge
2nd Person hafast or hæfast lifast sægst or segst
3rd Person hafað or hæfð lifaþ sægeþ or segþ
Plural      
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons habbaþ libbaþ secgaþ

 

Past Tense

Singular
1st Person hæfde lifde sægde or sæde
2nd Person hæfdest lifdest sægdest or sædest
3rd Person hæfde lifde sægde or sæde
Plural
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons hæfdon lifdon sægdon or sædon

 

Third Cojugation Weak Verbs, Subjunctive Mood

 

Present Tense

Singular      
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons hæbbe libbe secge
Plural      
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons hæbben libben secgen

 

Past Tense

Singular
1st, 2nd and 3rd Persons hæfde lifde sægde or sæde
Plural
1st, 2nd abd 3rd Persons hæfden lifden sægden or sæden

Third Conjugation Weak Verbs, Imperative Mood

(can only be in the 2nd person and only in present tense)

 

Singular      
2nd Person hafa liofa sage or sege
Plural      
2nd Person habbaþ libbaþ or lifiaþ secgaþ or secgeaþ

 

Inflected Infinitives

to habbanne

to libbanne or

to lifienne

to secganne or

to secgeanne

 

Present Participles

hæbbende libbende or lifigende secgende

 

Past Participles

hæfd lifd sægd or sæd

 

Chapter 12 Vocabulary Words

Some exercises to practice translating Strong Verbs

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