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These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 11 Feb 2019, 22:03
by Dreamweaver
I have been looking at a discussion about the use of words like 'burned' compared to 'burnt', learned/learnt, spelled/spelt, etc.
Someone who remembers their school days better than I can, might be able to sort it out, via tense/mood/aspect/voice.
Two tenses: present and past.
Four aspects: simple, progressive, perfect, perfect-progressive.
Three moods: indicative, subjunctive, imperative.
Two voices: active and passive.
But my interest is much shallower. I just wonder if we burned the toast we would end up with burnt toast. If we learned a lesson it would be a learnt lesson. In other words, one implies a simple action, the other descriptive of the result, almost like an adjective. Just idle curiosity!

What did interest me was this offering, composed by Adrienne Lovelock .
In this long life, some things I’ve learnt:
Praise and love cannot be earnt
By harsh words said and bridges burnt;
The way ahead can’t be discernt
Till roads are trod and corners turnt;
And helping hands should not be spurnt
But generosity returnt;
These are things that I have learnt.

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 12 Feb 2019, 10:19
by Perrorist
But my interest is much shallower. I just wonder if we burned the toast we would end up with burnt toast. If we learned a lesson it would be a learnt lesson. In other words, one implies a simple action, the other descriptive of the result, almost like an adjective. Just idle curiosity!
In the context above, burnt and learnt are adjectives.

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 13 Feb 2019, 11:22
by Dreamweaver
And so would be burned toast and learned lesson, I suppose. But when we get to the toast being burned, the toast was burned, is it the action, or the description?

As native English speakers we don't need to give it a second thought. But I'm so glad I'm not trying to learn English as a new endeavour, especially in old age! :icon_biggrin:

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 13 Feb 2019, 12:12
by Perrorist
But when we get to the toast being burned, the toast was burned, is it the action, or the description?
The auxiliary verb gets in the way. If you say 'the toast burns', it's clearly a verb. And 'the toast burnt' is still the verb, except it's in the past tense. Thus, 'the toast was burned' is in the past perfect tense. While 'the toast had burnt' and 'the toast had been burning' would be in the pluperfect.

As for 'the toast being burned', it can be either present continuous (indicative: "No, not that toast, the one being burned") or an adjective, describing the state of the toast ("The toast being burned, I tossed it in the bin").

I went to a grammar school and from time to time I work as a proofreader, but that doesn't make me a guru, so someone better qualified may take issue with the above explanation.

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 14 Feb 2019, 06:34
by Dreamweaver
Perrorist wrote:
13 Feb 2019, 12:12
. . . someone better qualified may take issue with the above explanation.
Not me! You have my admiration, Perry. And when you say an expression may be either a verb or an adjective depending on context, that is the point where I wonder if the alternative spelling is a development that will clarify which meaning to take. If this is a change still in progress, it could take a while to settle. Language develops slowly!

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 14 Feb 2019, 10:21
by Perrorist
Yes, change is gradual. When I'm proofreading, I change 'whilst' to 'while' and 'amongst' to 'among'. However, I can't do that with 'against'!

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 14 Feb 2019, 20:01
by Dreamweaver
:icon_biggrin:

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 17 Feb 2019, 12:11
by Dreamweaver
I just learned/learnt that the past tense of ‘gaslight,’ is ‘gaslighted,’ not ‘gaslit.’
Because, I suppose, there are two different sorts of gaslighting?
Gaslit is an adjective meaning lit by gas.
Gaslighted is the past tense of a verb (or part of one) where an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity.
8-[

Re: These are things that I have learnt.

Posted: 17 Feb 2019, 19:29
by Warrigal
Makes sense.

Sort of like the difference between "hanged", as in "hanged by the neck until dead" and "hung", as in "the painting was hung in the foyer".