Today we’re going to go over some obnoxious English rules for irregular verbs.
Okay, most verbs (except for “be”) have 5 different forms:
Base form: I like to walk to the bookstore.
Past tense: I walked home from the bar.
Past Participle: I have often walked home from the bar.
Present participle: I am walking to the police station to bail out my best friend.
-S form: He/She/It walks to the dog park often.
Normal verbs will end in an -ed or -d in the past-tense and past-participle. Irregular verbs are different though. In the past tense, they will often change forms:
Base form: Usually I eat cupcakes after dinner.
Past tense: Yesterday I ate a cupcake after dinner.
Past participle: I have eaten cupcakes many times before.
Present participle: I am eating a yummy cupcake.
-S form: He/She/It/My coworker steals/eats my cupcakes regularly. So I started lacing those cupcakes with Ex-Lax.
Most of the people who stumble onto this website probably speak English (as their first or second language). If not, then note that, that was probably me just being an egocentric American — sorry. Anyway, my point is that aside from ESL, we know how to use verbs (regular and irregular) in their correct tense and form. We practice it all the time and so we are used to swapping it up.
However, with internet-speak (“I can has cupcake?”), our English-speaking competencies are…deteriorating.
I am happy to note, however, that with the rise of smartphones, mini qwerty “keyboards” are all at our fingertips. You see what I did there? Anyway, we are more apt to write out actual sentences now. Not to mention, spell things correctly!
As writers, it is especially important that we notice how we use our language: slang, internet speak, grammatically correct English, etc. All of these tiny discrepancies, differences, and slight alterations will help you with your characters.
I, for one, have always had a problem with my characters sounding…well, like me. Paying attention to different dialects, how different generations speak, etc. would change that. I just have to pay more attention and so should you, if you have this problem.
Happy writing, fellow wordsmiths!