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Senior Member
U.S.A., English
This is not very important at all, but interesting nevertheless; it just occurred to me after seeing another post.
Can you conjugate "to comprehend" in the past tense?
"I comprehended"? I verbixed it just for kicks, and apparently that's it... but I swear to God I have never heard that in my life. Is that proper English? "I couldn't comprehend," sure, but why not "I comprehended" (like "I understood")?
The real question though:
Are some verbs just not able to be conjugated?
  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    You do pose an interesting question. I couldn't resist googling it, and it appears that "comprehended" is used mainly (but not only) as an adjective: "lessons comprehended by all," "fundamentalism comprehended," etc. Like you, I don't think I've ever used it as a verb or an adjective; I'm sure I would have used "understood"!

    In any case, if you want to, I think the evidence shows that you can use "comprehended" as a verb!

    Finally, to answer your last question, I think that some "modal" verbs can't be conjugated in all forms ("ought," "must" for example!). I'm sure there are others as well.

    Thanks for a linguistic "thought for the day."


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Surely there is nothing alien about comprehended as a simple past tense.
    Comprehend has a more comprehensive meaning than understand, it is not always appropriate as a synonym, and it is a rather more formal word.

    Understand is more common than comprehend (about 27:1).
    Understood is much more common than comprehended (about 70:1)

    There is nothing alien about comprehended :)
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