Why aren't there Plural Verbs in English?

Roni Swersky

New Member
English, Hebrew
Hi,
I know that there are no plural verbs in English, and I know some languages have them and so on. My question is more about the reason why verbs aren't pluralized in English while 'be' has a plural form (were, are).
My question is more etymological than grammatical, please answer it from that aspect.
Thank you
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    It is simply a result of the decay of inflectional endings in the Middle English period that resulted at the end of this period in all plural forms being indistinguishable from the first person singular and in present tense also being indistinguishable from the infinitive.

    The be is special because it is composed of tree different roots that merged, the root be-, the root is-/sind- and the root wes-. As a result, different forms did not only differ in ending but also in stem. In addition, the stems of is- and wes- both underwent a process called Grammatischer Wechsel producing forms with -r- rather then -s- in the plural.
     

    Roni Swersky

    New Member
    English, Hebrew
    It is simply a result of the decay of inflectional endings in the Middle English period that resulted at the end of this period in all plural forms being indistinguishable from the first person singular and in present tense also being indistinguishable from the infinitive.

    The be is special because it is composed of tree different roots that merged, the root be-, the root is-/sind- and the root wes-. As a result, different forms did not only differ in ending but also in stem. In addition, the stems of is- and wes- both underwent a process called Grammatischer Wechsel producing forms with -r- rather then -s- in the plural.
    Thank you for the prompt and detailed answer.
     
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