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Welcome to issue #54  of  Words Matter , our bi-weekly newsletter .  Please feel free to share with a friend! 
Here's the good stuff.
Verb Shift-n-Drift

People of a certain age will remember reciting "principal parts" of verbs in elementary English classes.   We would  give the form of a verb used for now (present tense) and for yesterday (past tense), and then the form used when introduced by "I have __" ("past participle"): "Today I __ , yesterday I __, and I have __."

I loved the cadence of the patterns as we'd recite go, went, gone and ride, rode, ridden or see, saw, seen and do, did, done.  English verbs seemed to sort out into patterns, one of which was the ring, rang, rung pattern.  Ring, rang, rungSing, sang, sungSink, sank, sunkBegin, began, begunSwim, swam, swumDrink, drank, drunkStink, stank, stunkShrink, shrank, shrunkSpring, sprang, sprungSting, stang, stung. Bring, brang, brung.

stink, stank, stunk

Wait.  SprangStangBrang?  Something's not right.  Clearly some of these forms are going out of style or are just plain wrong.  Actually, it's language shift and drift again, something we've talked about in this space before.  The pattern (known by linguists as Strong Verb Pattern 3) has been evolving for hundreds of years among English speakers, to the point that some words which were once proper have become substandard or comical.

Proof of the drift and shift is clear when you recite some expected patterns.  Try these:
swing              spin                 slink                 cling                wring              sling

Ms. Chickie clang while she swang!

These past tense forms have faded into disuse: swang, clang, span, wrang, slank, slang.  Yet all of these forms appear as proper English in texts from years gone by.

Such changes might make some language teachers cringe and grind their teeth.  But the ones who really understand and love language will smile to know that, true enough, once upon a time people said "Today I cringe, and yesterday I crang, and I have crung" and they said, "Today I grind my corn, yesterday I grand it, and I have grund it."

 Momma  grand
the corn this morning.

It was once correct to say (and write), "Today we win, and yesterday we wan, and we have wun every time," and you'd properly hear the verb pattern "limp, lamp, lump"!  I need to rin (sic) along now--I ran out of space. --R.D. "Doc" Larrick  

Enjoy this brief student video on the suffix ANCE  that comes directly from WordBuildonLine Foundations Level 3. 

The suffix ANCE
The suffix ANCE

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