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The vowel-shift irregular verb

This group of irregular verbs have vowel sounds that change in a predictable way, when they go from the present to the past tense.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians! We're talking about vowel shifting in irregular verbs, which is gonna sound a little weird, but bear with me. To review what a vowel is super quick, a vowel is any sound that your mouth can make while your tongue isn't touching your lips or your teeth or the roof of your mouth, basically. In English we render vowels in the following way, a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y, or as it is commonly pronounced, aeiouy. That part's not true, but here is what's true is that you produce vowels from different parts of your mouth. You can produce a vowel in the front of your mouth, you can produce it in the center of your mouth, you can produce it all the way back in your throat. What does this have to do with irregular verbs? I'm so glad you asked. Let's draw a chart. So I'm gonna put three things on this chart, the present, the past, and the past perfect, which is when you're talking about something in the past that is completed, and we form that in English by combining that verb with have, so have walked, have said, have done. Now in most cases with most regular verbs, the past perfect and the past form are the same, the same thing, but in some very rare cases, and that's why we're talking about these, they're different. Let's begin with the first one. In the present tense, we say "I sing." In the past tense, we would say "she sang," and in the past perfect, you would say "they have sung." So it's weird, right? Because the vowel changes this vowel sound, ih, ah, uh, actually bounces along your mouth. It goes from front, to middle, to back as you go further and further back in time, which I think is really cool. Ih, uh, ah. Same thing with the word drink. In the present tense, it's I drink, in the past tense, it's I drank, and in the past perfect, it's I had drunk. There are other verbs that follow this formula, too, like ring, rang, rung for ringing a bell, but for the rest of this, we're just gonna talk about verbs where the past and the past perfect are the same, and there's still a vowel shift going on between the present and the past. So if you take a word like win, the present tense is win, the past tense is won, and the past perfect is also won. We had won the game. We won the game. So that vowel shift goes from ih, to uh. The verb to find. So in the present tense it's find and in the past and past perfect it's found. It goes from i-ee to ow. Sit becomes sat, sneak becomes snuck, and run becomes ran, and run is a weird one because the past perfect form of run is run. He had run, not he had ran. Those are some of the front to back sound shifts it, at, uh, or it, uh, or ite, ow, that you will encounter when you're learning irregular verbs in English. You can learn anything, David out.