I'm interested in finding two verbs with the same past participle but different infinitives.

Mock example:

  • to feed -> fed
  • to fead -> fed

1 Answer 1


It depends on whether you mean "the same" and "different" in terms of pronunciation or spelling, or both. I can't think of a clear example that satisfies this description for both spelling and pronunciation. English spelling is much more fixed than pronunciation, although in the area of irregular verbs, even spelling is somewhat variable for a number of words.

Differently spelled infinitives, identically spelled (but differently pronounced) participles

The verbs pal and pall are pronounced differently, and their past participles are regular in pronunciation, and so also pronounced differently. But both past participles are spelled the same, as palled.

Homophones that may have differently spelled infinitives but identically spelled participles

The verb bus 'to transport by bus' has a rare homophone buss 'to kiss'. The past paticiple of bus may be spelled bussed, in which case these verbs share the same spelling for the past participle but not for the infinitive. Bused is an alternative spelling of the past participle of bus (but not of that of buss).

There is a verb that can be spelled conn meaning 'to direct the steering of a ship' and a verb spelled con meaning 'swindle'. The past participle of either is spelled conned. Conn has an alternative spelling con.

Same pronunciation of the past participle, but not the infinitive; different spellings of the past participle in standard written English

  • told (to tell) and tolled (to toll) are pronounced the same way in the most common dialects of English.

  • Bust, which apparently can be used as the past participle of bust, is homophonous to the past participles of bus and buss.

  • Apparently there are some speakers who pronounce the past tense of beat the same way as bet. If they also leave off the -en of the past participle, that would make it a homophone to the past participle of bet.

  • In the latter category, there’s also died/dyed and lied/lyed. Jan 28, 2019 at 17:40
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: I guess I wasn't thinking of homophones, although those would certainly be the most obvious example of words that are distinct but that have past participles that are pronounced the same, because homophones are pronounced the same in the infinitive form as well. So I think it's hard to describe them as having "the same past participle but different infinitives": in terms of pronunciation, the participles and infinitives are both identical, and in terms of spelling, they're both different.
    – herisson
    Jan 28, 2019 at 17:41

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