further nerdiness: good article on irregular verbs

A meditation on irregular verbs by Stephen Pinker, the Harvard professor of psychology wrote the book The Blank Slate, which is about evolutionary psychology and got a lot of acclaim. (Thanks to Andru for lending me the book, btw.)

Of note, Pinker reinforces the idea that most of what writers consider to be the “strong” words in the English language are the Anglo-Saxon ones. Stephen King talks about this in On Writing, the idea that Latinate English sounds diluted. “Bite” is an example of a good, strong Anglo word. I like the word “black” myself; it sounds so absolute.

Anyway, I always feel a little racist when I talk about this, so I’m going to stop here before I cross the line.

The 10 most common verbs in English:

be, have, do, say, make, go, take, come, see, get

Exercises for teaching irregulars.


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