• commonly seen in Early Modern English e.g. trimm’d, poliʃh’d
  • extracted from a passage written in 1737
  • we are curious about why these verbs used to be spelled this way but aren’t anymore
  • 2
    There was no standard orthography in ME. Abbreviations are ubiquitous in Middle English manuscripts, but rather more variable and idiosyncratic in previous Latin scribal practice. They indicate parts of words that were so obvious and standard that they could be left for the readers to supply – the importance for spelling in the area of participle endings is obvious. Another interpretation for the use of abbreviations is the indication of potential developmental loss or the level of care and speed with which the document was written varieng.helsinki.fi/series/volumes/10/diemer
    – user 66974
    Aug 22, 2023 at 6:35
  • 2
    We don't need to write them like that nowadays because we always pronounce them that way in any case. The apostrophe is to show that it isn't meant to be pronounced trimm-ed. I don't know how frequently past tenses were pronounced with two syllables. Aug 22, 2023 at 7:18
  • 1
    There's a bunch of similar questions, although searching may be tricky: 3 different sounds for ed, cursed, accents on e in ed
    – Stuart F
    Aug 22, 2023 at 8:27
  • 3
    This one seems an actual duplicate. Does this answer your question? When did they shift from apostrophizing the past tense to using an "e"?
    – Stuart F
    Aug 22, 2023 at 8:28
  • The use of the apostrophe to show that the past-tense suffix was not a separate syllable (though it used to be so) was far from universal. Spelling is a matter of convention reinforced by education, not an intrinsic part of the language. You can see folks battling over this issue in the first half of the 18th century in this ngram: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – TimR
    Aug 22, 2023 at 8:43


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