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21
votes
4answers
5k views

Do the English have an ancient (obsolete) verb for the action of the book opening? [closed]

Do the English have an ancient (obsolete) verb for the action of the book opening? For example, in Russian we say otkrit' (open the book), but in the Old slavonic the verb razognuti (to unbend the ...
0
votes
2answers
511 views

Why can 'lower' be a verb but 'higher/upper' cannot?

The title is basically my question. The word lower can be a comparative form of low as an adjective, but it can also be a verb. However, the antonym of the word such as higher or upper cannot be used ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

a-verb-ing construct (e.g. a-hopping) [closed]

I sometimes here casual phrases in English like a hipping and a hopping (a hippin and a hoppin). How exactly does this fit into English grammar and what is the history of the construct?
2
votes
1answer
321 views

The origin of the verb “has” (the verb “have” for third-singular person)

From what I know, in Simple Present, all verbs are followed by -s/es if the subject is a third-singular person. Such as makes, matches, buys, and studies. I also know that if the verb is have, it ...
3
votes
0answers
177 views

What was the command of “Fire at will” before gunpowder? [duplicate]

I've seen some discussions about the command of "fire" before gunpowder was invented. That may be "shoot", "loose", "throw" etc. But what was the command of "fire at will"? Are there any clues? ...
31
votes
3answers
12k views

“Fire” a weapon before firearms existed?

Did the verb “fire a weapon” exist before the actual introduction of firearms on battlefields? More specifically, does it make sense for a creative work to have archers (or whatever ranged weaponry) ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Flexibility of English: Always so?

The other day I read a question about nouns being used as verbs. An answer informed that in English any word can be used as a verb, but that it is not so in other languages. Beyond verbs, English is a ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Pronunciation and meaning: “wind” and “wound”

I find it curious that there exist two words spelt wind ("a breeze" vs. "to turn") and two words spelt wound ("an injury" vs. the past participle of wind), and that the words in each pair are ...
1
vote
0answers
77 views

How the English verb conjugation does not have different suffixes? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What happened to the “-est” and “-eth” verb suffixes in English? How were they once used? How do you conjugate Early Modern English verbs (other than ...
7
votes
1answer
844 views

When was the word “scroll” first used as a verb?

We all know that a scroll is a roll of parchment used in ancient times. A scroll can be rolled up or down, and that must have been the metaphor the creator of the computer-term "scroll" had in mind. ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

Why is “can” such an odd verb?

The English verb can is very strange for several reasons: It drops the to on any infinitive verb forms that follow it. That is, unlike in the verb want in the sentence I want to eat, you would not ...
5
votes
2answers
407 views

Dialectal and historical usage of “not care” in the meaning of “not mind”

In standard Present-day English, "I don't care to be there" means the same as "I don't wish to be there." Apparently, this is not the case in some present and historical dialects. Wylene P. Dial ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Origin of pluralisation of verbs and nouns in English

From this question, I was just wondering why plural nouns use the ending -s, while the exact same ending is used for the third person singular form of verbs. How did we get into this weird situation? ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Are the verbs that are conjugated to end in “-n” in the past participle related?

There are many words that in English are conjugated in the past participle to end in "-n": grow goes to grown, sew goes to sewn, throw goes to thrown, etc.. I'm guessing it was probably the regular ...
13
votes
1answer
582 views

Ordering of English sound changes in verbal morphology

As we all know, the Early Modern English 3sg verbal ending -eth has become -s in Modern English. This presumably happened in two steps: Elision of the unstressed e in the final syllable Changing ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

{wend, went, went} changed into {go, went, gone}

I have heard that the verb go used to be wend in olden days. I am curious if there is any historical or other explanation why the past form of wend, i.e. went, is still in use while the simple present ...