Irregular verbs in English usage guides

For a paper I’m giving in January at the Leiden conference The Effects of Prescriptivism in Language History, I decided to look at strong verbs, or rather at the larger category of irregular verbs. Two questions for our readers: how many strong or irregular verbs are there in the English language? Perhaps there is not an answer to this, even though it is a closed class. But what about this one: which of these would be discussed most frequently in English usage guides and why?

One small clue (since I’ve finished my analysis): it is none of the verbs in the Snakes & Ladders image.

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7 Responses to Irregular verbs in English usage guides

  1. Paul Nance says:

    Is the most commonly discussed irregular verb “to be”?

  2. How about something that would be discussed because of the differences between British and American English? ‘Dived/dove’ and ‘sneaked/snuck’ spring to mind.

  3. I’m going to guess lie/lay/lain.

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