Middle English

Conjugate Verbs


  • Language: Middle English
  • Alternate names: Anglo-Saxon, Englisc
  • Language code:
  • Language family: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English
  • Number of speakers: Extinct, predecessor of Modern English
  • Script: Latin script


Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the introduction of the printing press.

By this time the Northumbrian dialect spoken in south east Scotland was developing into the Scots language. The language of England as spoken after this time, up to 1650, is known as Early Modern English.

The verb

The Middle English verb has the following independent forms:

Verbs are divided in two major groups according to how preterite and past participle is formed:

Weak verbs

Weak verbs form the majority of Middle English verbs. In Old English there existed three classes of weak verbs, but in Middle English these fell together.

Sample verb: lernen

Weak verb, class I

Present Preterite Present Preterite
Sg.1 lerne lerned(e) lerne lerned(e) -
Sg.2 lern(e)st1 / lernest2 / lern(e)st3 / lernes4 lernedest lerne!
Sg.3 lern(e)þ1 / lerneþ2 / lernes3,4 lerned(e) -
Pl.1 lerneþ1 / lernen2,3 / lernes3, 4 lernen lernen lerned(en) -
Pl.2 lerneþ!1,2,3 / lernes!4
Pl.3 -


  1. Southern and Kentish
  2. East Midland
  3. West Midland
  4. Northern

More Verbs

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