I have never understood this. It works this way for find/found, grind/ground, and others. Why is it not mind/mound?

  • 3
    Because irregular verbs are not regular. Mind is a regular verb, which means it takes -ed for past tense. Find and grind are irregular verbs, which means their form changes in unpredictable ways. Most verbs are regular, but each irregular verb is irregular in its own ways. So don't look for patterns in irregularity; look for the regular patterns. – John Lawler Dec 1 '16 at 16:55

Find and grind are strong verbs that inherited Proto-Indo-European ablaut. They have been verbs for a very long time.

Mind is a weak verb. The Oxford English Dictionary describes its origin as "Formed within English, by conversion". In other words, the noun mind came first, and the verb mind was derived from the noun. Verbs that are derived from nouns cannot be strong verbs (unless they are altered by analogy). In fact, there is no productive way to derive new strong verbs. They're pretty much all inherited from at least Proto-Germanic verbs (I don't know, there might be a few that come from other sources).

This information is of limited usefulness for determining the conjugation of any particular verb, since often it's hard to tell if an English verb is derived from the corresponding noun, or vice versa (for example, grind and find also exist as nouns, via conversion/zero-derivation from the verbs).

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I'll wait to accept to see if anything can top this, but that probably won't happen. +1 – CHEESE Dec 1 '16 at 17:04
  • Strong verb is another term for irregular verb, and weak is another term for regular, but referring to historical sources instead of present usage. – John Lawler Dec 1 '16 at 17:19
  • 2
    @JohnLawler That's not entirely accurate. A strong verb is a particular type of (synchronically) irregular verb. Be and have and the modals, for example, are irregular, but not strong. Regular verbs are always weak, but some irregular verbs can be weak, too (like keep or beat). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 1 '16 at 17:41
  • 1
    Are you saying that English speakers have weak minds??? – Hellion Dec 1 '16 at 18:44
  • @Hellion But strong mounds! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 1 '16 at 19:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.