Being Irregular

Copyright 2013 David Belt

Last week, I wrote an article on stylistic writing choices that don’t always fall within the boundaries of standard, grammatically correct English. For the most part, we as readers don’t really care if the writer takes a few artistic liberties with the English language.

To add to that discussion, I would like to cover one particular avenue of artistic licensing that I believe adds to literature: Irregular Verbs.

By definition, irregular verbs are verbs used improperly, by not using the -ed ending for the past tense form, yet found common in contemporary speech. Linguistics experts study irregular verbs to identify dialect patterns. These patterns eventually become the basis for introduction of new words into the English language. This process takes about 50 years, so for decades people will use irregular verbs in conflict with standard English grammar. The reason for the delay is to prevent faddish slang from reaching the mainstream language.

I, myself, am a rebel, quietly engaging in rebellion against standard English grammar. I enjoy using irregular verbs. I find them more colorful, poetic even.

Standard: Yesterday, I awakened and petted the dog.
Irregular: Yesterday, I awoke and pet the dog.

You can read more about irregular verbs at

Join the rebellion! Fight the system! Be irregular!

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