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2. Thou mayst or canst have 2. Ye or you may or can have been loved.

been loved. 3. He may or can have been 3. They may or can have beer loved.




PLURAL. 1. I might, could, would, or 1. We might, could, would, or

should have been loved. should have been loved. 2. Thou mightst, couldst, 2. Ye or you might, could,

wouldst, or shouldst would, or should have been have been loved.

loved. 3. He might, could, would, or 3. They might, could, would, or

should have been loved. should have been loved,

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The remaining tenses of this mood, are, in general, similar to the correspondent tenses of the Indicative mood. See pages 80, 81, 94, and the notes under the nineteenth rule of syntax.

Infinitive Mood.

T. be loved

To have been loved:



Being loved.
Having been loved.

When an auxiliary is joined to the participle of the principal verb, the auxiliary goes through all the variations of person and number, and the participle itself continues invariably the same. When there are two or more auxiliaries joined to the participle, the first of them only is varied according to person and number. The auxiliary must admits of no variation.

The neuter verb is conjugated like the active; but as it partakes somewhat of the nature of the passive, it admits, in many instances, of the passive form, retaining still the neuter signification : as, “I am arrived ;" “I was gone;"> “I am grown." The auxiliary verb am, was, in this case, precisely defines the time of the action or event, but does not change the nature of it; the passive form still expressing, not properly a passion, but only a state or condition of heing.

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Observations on Passive Verbs.

Some writers on grammar assert, that there are no Passive Verbs in the English language, because we have no verbs of this kind with a particular termination, all of them being formed by the different tenses of the auxiliary to be, joined to the passive participle of the verb. This is, however, to mistake the true nature of the English verb; and to regulate it, not on the principles of our own tongue, but on those of foreign languages. The conjugation, or the variation of the English verb, to answer all the purposes of verbs, is accomplished by the means of auxiliaries; and if it be alleged that we have no passive verbs, because we cannot exhibit them without having recourse to helping verbs, it may with equal truth be said, that we have no perfect, pluperfect, or future tense, in the indicative or subjunctive mood; since these, as well as some other parts of the verb active, are formed by auxiliaries.


Even the Greek and Latin passive verbs require an auxiliary to conjugate some of their tenses; namely, the former, in the preterit of the optative and subjunctive moods; and the latter, in the perfect and pluperfect of the indicative, the perfect, pluperfect, and future, of the subjunctive mood, and the perfect of the infinitive. The deponent verbs, in Latin, require also an auxiliary to conjugate several of their tenses. This statement abundantly proves, that the conjugation of a verb, in the learned languages, does not consist solely in varying the form of the original verb. It proves that these languages, like our own language, sometimes conjugate with an auxiliary, and sometimes without it. There is, indeed, a difference. What the learned languages require to be done, in some instances, the peculiar genius of our own tongue obliges us to do, in active verbs principally, and in passive ones, universally. In short, the variation of the verb, in Greek and Latin, is generally accomplished by prefixes, or terminations, added to the verb itself; in English, by the addition of auxiliaries.

The English tongue is, in many respects, materially different from the learned languages. It is, therefore, very possible to be mistaken ourselves, and to mislead and perplex others, by an undistinguishing attachment to the principles and arrangement of the Greek and Latin Grammarians. Much of the confusion and perplexity, which we meet with in the writings of some English Grammarians, on the subject of verbs, moods, and conjugations, has arisen from the misapplication of names. We are apt to think, that the old names must always be attached to the identical forms and things, to which they were anciently attached. But if we rectify this mistake, and properly adjust the names to the peculiar forms and nature of the things in our own language, we shall be clear and consistent in our ideas; and consequently, better able to represent them intelligibly to those whom we wish to inform.

The observations which we have made under this head, and on the subject of the moods in another place, will not apply to the declension and cases of nouns, so as to require us to adopt names and divisions similar to those of the Greek and Latin languages; for we should then have more cases than there are prepositions in connexion with the article and noun : and after all, it would be a useless, as well as an unwieldy apparatus ; since every English preposition points to, and governs, but one case, namely the objective; which is also true with respect to our governing verbs and participles. But the conjugation of an English verb in form, through all its moods and tenses, by means of auxiliaries, so far from

being useless or intricate, is a beautiful and regular display of it, and indispensably necessary to the language.

Some grammarians have alleged, that on the same ground that the voices, moods, and tenses, are admitted into the English tongue, in the forms for which we have contended, we should also admit the dual number, the paulo post future tense, the middle voice, and all the moods and tenses which are to be found in Greek and Latin. But this objection, though urged with much reliance on its weight, is not well founded. If the arrangement of the moods, tenses, &c. which we have adopted, is suited to the idiom of our tongue; and the principle, on which they are adopted, is extended as far as use and convenience require ; where is the impropriety in arresting our progress, and fixing our forms at the point of utility ? A principle may be warrantably assumed, and carried to a precise convenient extent, without sub,ecting its supporters to the charge of inconsistency, for not pursuing it beyond the line of use and propriety.

The importance of giving the ingenious student clear and just ideas of the nature of our verbs, moods, and tenses, will apologize for the extent of the Author's remarks on these subjects, both here and elsewhere, and for bis solicitude to simplify and explain them.—He thinks it has been proved, that the idiom of our tongue demands the arrangement he has given to the English verb; and that, though the learned languages, with respect to voices, moods, and tenses, are, in general, differently constructed from the English tongue, yet, in some respects, they are so similar to it, as to warrant the principle which he has adopted. See pages 66-68 ; 7577; 94–95: and Note 8 under the 19th rule of Syntax.

Section 10.

Of Irregular Verbs. IRREGULAR Verbs are those, which do not form their imperfect tense, and their perfect participle, by the addition of d or ed to the verb: as,

I begin,
I know,

I began,
I knew,

Perfect Part. begun. known.


1. Such as have the present and imperfect tenses, and perfect participle, the same: as,


Perfect Part,


put. 2. Such as have the imperfect tense, and perfect participle, the same: as, Present, Imperfect.

Perfect, Part.



3. Such as have the imperfect tense, and perfect participle,

different: as,


Perfect. Part.


blown. Many verbs become irregular by contraction: as, “feed, fed ; leave, left:” others, by the termination en: as, “fall, fell, fallen :” others, by the termination ght: as, “buy, bought : teach, taught,” &c.

The following list of the irregular verbs will, it is presumed, be found both comprehensive and accurate.


Imperfect. Abide,

abode, Am,

was, Arise,

arose, Awake,

awoke, R. Bear, to bring forth, bare, Bear, to carry,

bore, Beat,

beat, Begin,

began, Bend,

bent, Bereave,

berest, R. Beseech,

besought, Bid,

bid, bade, Bind,

bound, Bite,

bit, Bleed,

bled, Blow,

blew, Break.


Perfect, or Pass. Part.
beaten, beat.
bereft, R.
bidden, bid.

bitten, bit.


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