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According to Wiktionary, the past participle of "flaw" is flawed, and flawn is not mentioned as being a valid alternative. However, the past participle of "draw" is drawn. I know that Modern English is irregular with regard to many forms and conjugations (for better or worse), but at first glance it is logical that the past participle form should be flawn, and not flawed. In short, what is the correct conjugation of the past participle for the verb flaw?

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You should replace partiple with participle. –  user19148 Jul 13 '12 at 15:58
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Are you asking about 'flaw' or 'draw'. There seems to be a mismatch between your question title and the question in your final sentence. –  Barrie England Jul 13 '12 at 15:59
    
Thanks Daniel δ –  Adam Mosheh Jul 13 '12 at 16:00
    
I'm asking about flaw. Sorry about that. –  Adam Mosheh Jul 13 '12 at 16:01
    
@Danielδ - I just fixed that in edit 3. Thanks for edit 4, L and R sound so similar that my mind must have just overlooked it. –  Adam Mosheh Jul 13 '12 at 16:04
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3 Answers

Well, to start with, flaw is not really a verb; it's a noun, and nouns don't have past participles.

Like practically any noun, however, it can be "Verbed" (as Calvin calls it; linguists call it Zero-Derivation, or Conversion), resulting in a causative verb to flaw, meaning 'cause to have a flaw'. It's not very common, though -- I mean, how likely do these sentences sound?

  • Don't flaw that cantata!
  • I will flaw every stone I find.
  • She really enjoyed flawing those.

However, common or not, all Zero-Derived verbs are regular, and that means that the principal parts of flaw are

flaw, flawed, flawed.

Draw and fly, however, are verbs, and are irregular, to boot. Their principal parts are

draw, drew, drawn

and

fly, flew, flown

There are vowel shifts here, which is one mark of irregularity; the past participle inflection is another. The -n suffix for past participle goes back to Germanic. In Modern German, the past participles of "strong" (i.e, irregular) verbs always end in -en, while the past participles of "weak" (regular) verbs always end in -t. In English, regular verbs have collapsed both the Past and the Past Participle inflections to -ed, while irregular verbs vary all over the lot.

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Why did you capitalize the term "verbed"? –  Adam Mosheh Jul 13 '12 at 16:43
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Because I capitalized the other terms. –  John Lawler Jul 13 '12 at 16:43
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Does one of them have an irregular conjugation? "All the books here have now been catalogen." –  GEdgar Jul 13 '12 at 18:25
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They are primarily nouns, and secondarily derived verbs. And the derived verbs are all regular. They're not all causatives, of course; oil is provisional, and brake is applicative, for instance. There are a lot of semantic categories that derived verbs can fall into. –  John Lawler Jul 13 '12 at 20:55
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It it looks like a verb, if it inflects like a verb and if it functions as a verb, then it is a verb. –  Barrie England Jul 14 '12 at 12:24
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There's no more to it than what you've stated. The past participle form of flaw is in fact flawed, and never flawn. It's not uncommon for English verbs to have differing conjugations.

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I didn't necessarily answer my own question. Maybe a dictionary exists that does list a variant form for the past participle. –  Adam Mosheh Jul 13 '12 at 16:07
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Even if one did, it would be obscure and obsolete. Since you're asking for the "correct conjugation", you shouldn't worry about obscure variants. –  Daniel Jul 13 '12 at 16:09
    
Never say never. –  Adam Mosheh Jul 13 '12 at 16:41
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The only past participle of flaw in the whole of the OED is flawed.

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Is the OED solely authoritative when it comes to Modern English? –  Adam Mosheh Jul 13 '12 at 16:07
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It is not. You have to use your own judgement in interpreting what you find there, and weigh it against what other sources tell you. That said, there is no reference work on English words and their history that is more compehensive. –  Barrie England Jul 13 '12 at 16:11
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I've searched several corpora (BNC, COCA etc.) and not a single one has "flawn" as a verb. –  Alex B. Jul 13 '12 at 20:39
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