Bought Sought Caught Taught

How did we get from “buy” to “bought”, from “Seek” to “Sought”, “Catch” to “Caught” and “Teach” to “Taught”? There’s more, of course (thought, fought, etc.). There must be some old english rule being applied here, anyone here that can explain it?

I know my 6-year old son would much rather say “buyed” and “teached”, if we could all agree to do away with these archaic past-tenses it’d make his life much easier.

In a matter of moments :wink:

Mini-hijack, but. I was thinking tonight, hopw did we get from “candor” to “candid”?

Steven Pinker’s book Words and Rules has several chapters on irregular past tenses, how they developed, and how children understand them.

There are several classes of irregular verbs and many individual stories of how they came about. buy - bought is of the same class as work - wrought:

The book is a fascinating one, but not really intended for light reading. If you really want to trace irregular verbs, however, it’s hard to beat.

Historical in English there was two types of verbs; a ‘weak’ and a ‘strong’. The weak used the ‘ed’ ending in past tense whereas strong used modification of the vowel. The tendency is for strong verbs to become weak. So irregular (strong) verbs gradually fade from use and are replaced by the regular (weak).

A good example of this is ‘dove’. It is currently vanishing and often replaced by ‘dived’, although the extent of this varies from region to region. Compare this to ‘drove’, also replaceable by ‘drived’, but not so commonly.

So the answer to the OP is to wait a few hundred years. But we can be sure that other equally irritating irregularities will have arisen in the same time.

I catched this thread, so I thinked I would pop in. At first, I buyed what you teached.