In Early Modern English you normally would add ‑st or ‑est to verbs to conjugate them to the second person singular indicative tense (past and present), but what do you do for verbs that already end in ‑st or ‑est? Would you just add another ‑est?

For example:

  • you jest > thou jestest

  • you jested > thou jestedst

  • you rest > thou restest

  • you rested > thou restedst

Doing this makes the words really hard to say, especially with the past tense, so is there an exception for words like these?

  • 1
    I think in Early Modern English you add "st" or "est" for second person singular indicative of the present or past tense only. Back then you'd still say "Open the door for me", not "*Openest the door for me". In Old English it's different; one would say "þu etst" ("Thou eatst") and "þu ǣte" ("Thou ate"), not "þu *ǣtest".
    – Einheri
    Feb 12, 2015 at 5:44
  • Right, sorry I didn't specify indicative, but the question still stands.
    – pigi5
    Feb 13, 2015 at 2:16
  • 4
    I don’t see how something like thou jestest is any harder to say than something like current English the fastest, which is structurally exactly identical, or verbs in /z/ that still add /əz/ (rise -> he rises). The past tense thou jestedst is tougher, but would also be quite rare—after all, there aren’t that many verbs that end in -st. I can’t seem to find any sources for this, but it seems logical to me, since -st and -əst were in quite free variation for a long time, that a past tense form like thou jestedst would be more or less automatically replaced by thou jestedest. Mar 22, 2015 at 20:13
  • It's only -edst which is difficult to say now, and that's probably because it's not very common. There's no difference really between jestedst and endedst. Or anointedst: see Gen 31:13 KJV.
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 22, 2015 at 20:42
  • Would it really be pronounced -edst or would it be -edzd instead? English normally assimilates voicing like that. Mar 22, 2015 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


Try "thou dost jest", "thou didst jest" etc. These are equally correct but not so hard on the unaccustomed tongue.

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