Niw Englisc/Grammar/Verbs

Verbs are very similar to both modern English and modern German. The verb has two simple forms: present and past, and three moods: indicative, subjunctive, imperative. Complex forms are made from helping verbs.

Conjugation in all TensesEdit

Present TenseEdit

Just about every verb will follow this pattern.

finden-to find
singular plural
Ic finde Wiȝ find
Þu findest Ȝiȝ find
He, Scie, It find Hje find

Notice the plural is the same ending for all persons. The first person ends in 'e', second in 'est', and third in 'eþ'. This can sometimes shorten to just 'st' or 'þ' when the stem doesn't end in d or a consonant cluster.

sceinen-to shine
singular plural
Ic sceine Wiȝ scein
Þu sceinst Ȝiȝ scein
He, Scie, It sceinþ Hje scein

Note the plural doesn't shorten, only the 2nd and 3rd person singular do.

With strong verbs, the 2nd and 3rd person will often umlaut, or change to a front vowel.

breken-to break
singular plural
Ic breke Wiȝ brek
Þu brikst Ȝiȝ brek
He, Scie, It brikþ Hje brek

This was the indicative mood, the form of the verb used for facts or things that are happening now. For counter-factual or hypothetical or reported events, you use the subjunctive present. After the conjunction if you always use subjunctive form.

Present SubjunctiveEdit

breken-to break
singular plural
Ic breke Wiȝ breken
Þu brekest Ȝiȝ breken
He, Scie, It breke Hje breken

The present subjunctive is formed by taking the infinitive -en off the verb, then adding the subjunctive endings:

breken-to break
singular plural
Ic -e Wiȝ -en
Þu brekest Ȝiȝ -en
He, Scie, It -e Hje -en

Example: he sæȝþ, þat he sein Auto fare he says that he is driving is car (but I can't verify it) Example: scie sæȝde, þat scie sekk sei she said that she is sick (but I can't verify it)

Past TenseEdit

There are two ways to form the past tense in Niw English, either the weak verb form, or the strong verb form. Weak verbs add a dental (de or te) before the personal suffixes, while strong verbs change vowels in a fairly regular pattern.

For both, the personal endings are going to be the same:

singular plural
Ic - Wiȝ -en
Þu -est Ȝiȝ -en
He, Scie, It - Hje -en

Weak Past Tense

dælen-to deal out, distribute, share
singular plural
Ic dælde Wiȝ dælden
Þu dældest Ȝiȝ dælden
He, Scie, It dælde Hje dælden

Strong Past Tense

finden-to find
singular plural
Ic fand Wiȝ fanden
Þu fandest Ȝiȝ fanden
He, Scie, It fand Hje fanden

Past SubjunctiveEdit

The past subjunctive, or Subjunctive II, is best translated as 'would do'. After if, you use the subjunctive.

breken-to break
singular plural
Ic bræke Wiȝ bræken
Þu brækest Ȝiȝ bræken
He, Scie, It bræke Hje bræken

Examples: Ic bœke þiȝ if þu miȝ asktest I would bake for you if you would ask me The past subjunctive for weak verbs is the same as the regular past tense, so it is often avoided in favor of werðen + infinitive:

dælen-to share
singular plural
Ic wyrde dælen Wiȝ wyrden dælen
Þu wyrdest dælen Ȝiȝ wyrden dælen
He, Scie, It wyrde dælen Hje wyrden dælen

Note: for Type 1 weak verbs, they do take an umlaut:

bycgen-to buy
singular plural
Ic bœhte Wiȝ bœhten
Þu bœhtest Ȝiȝ bœhten
He, Scie, It bœhte Hje bœhten

Future TenseEdit

There is no conjugation for the future tense, rather, you use a helping verb, werðen to become and the infinitive of the verb. This is translated "I will find" and so on.

finden-to find
singular plural
Ic werðe finden Wiȝ werð finden
Þu wirþst finden Ȝiȝ werð finden
He, Scie, It wirþþ finden Hje werð finden

The Future Perfect is formed with werðen and the present perfect infinitive (past participle, plus haben/wesen): I will have found it becomes ic werðe it gefunden haben, or ic will have become a doctor becomes ic werðe an Læcce geworden wesen.

There are three types of verbs in Niw Englisc: strong, weak, and preterite present. Strong verbs change vowel to show tense, weak verbs add te or de, and preterite present change vowels in the singular, and have a suffix in the past tense.

Strong VerbsEdit

There are seven kinds of strong verbs, according to the vowel change they have.

Type 1Edit

Vowel change: ei-a-i

reiden: to ride Principle Parts: reiden (reideþ), rad, geridden

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic reide Wiȝ reid
Þu reidest Ȝiȝ reid
He, Scie, It reid Hje reid
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic rad Wiȝ raden
Þu radest Ȝiȝ raden
He, Scie, It rad Hje raden

Type 2Edit

Vowel change: ie-o-o; u-o-o

flieten: to float Principle Parts: flieten (flieteþ), flot, is gefloten

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic fliete Wiȝ fliet
Þu flietest Ȝiȝ fliet
He, Scie, It fliet Hje fliet
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic flot Wiȝ floten
Þu flotest Ȝiȝ floten
He, Scie, It flot Hje floten


  • dufen: to dive (dyfþ, dof, gedofen)
  • flieȝen: to fly, flee (flieȝþ, flog, is geflogen)
  • flien: to flee (flieþ, floh, is geflohen); transitive aux. haben
  • kruden: to crowd, press forward, drive (krydþ, krod, gekroden)
  • lieden: to grow, spring up (liedeþ, lod, geloden); used of plants, animals, a people
  • tieȝen: to pull, drag, draw (tieȝþ, tog, is getogen); to bring, lead, put; to teach, educate, bring up; to draw near, go, proceed

Type 3Edit

Vowel change: e/i-a-u/o

finden: to find Principle Parts: finden (findeþ), fand, gefunden

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic finde Wiȝ find
Þu findest Ȝiȝ find
He, Scie, It find Hje find
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic fand Wiȝ fanden
Þu fandest Ȝiȝ fanden
He, Scie, It fand Hje fanden

helpen: to help Principle Parts: helpen (hilpþ), help, geholpen

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic helpe Wiȝ help
Þu hilpst Ȝiȝ help
He, Scie, It hilpþ Hje help
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic help Wiȝ help en
Þu help st Ȝiȝ help en
He, Scie, It help Hje help en

Type 4Edit

Vowel alternation: e-a-o

beren: to bear Principle Parts: beren (birþ), bar, geboren

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic bere Wiȝ ber
Þu birst Ȝiȝ ber
He, Scie, It birþ Hje ber
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic bar Wiȝ baren
Þu barst Ȝiȝ baren
He, Scie, It bar Hje baren


  • beran: to bear; (birþ, bar, geboren)

Type 5Edit

Vowel alteration: e-a-e

kweðen: to say, speak Principle Parts: kweðen (kwiþþ), kwaþ, gekwedden

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic kweðe Wiȝ kweð
Þu kwiþst Ȝiȝ kweð
He, Scie, It kwiþþ Hje kweð
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic kwaþ Wiȝ kwaðen
Þu kwaþst Ȝiȝ kwaðen
He, Scie, It kwaþ Hje kwaðen

Type 6Edit

Vowel alternation: a-o-a

baken: to bake Principle Parts: baken (bækþ), bok, gebaken

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic bake Wiȝ bak
Þu bækst Ȝiȝ bak
He, Scie, It bækþ Hje bak
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic bok Wiȝ boken
Þu bokst Ȝiȝ boken
He, Scie, It bok Hje boken

standen: to stand Principle Parts: standen (stændþ), stod, is gestanden

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic stande Wiȝ stand
Þu stændst Ȝiȝ stand
He, Scie, It stændþ Hje stand
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic stod Wiȝ stoden
Þu stodst Ȝiȝ stoden
He, Scie, It stod Hje stoden


  • dragen: to drag, draw; (drægþ, drog, gedragen)
  • faren: to travel, go, drive, journey; (færþ, for, is gefaren)
  • scafen: to shave; (scæfþ, scof, gescafen)

Type 7Edit

Vowel alterations: a-e-a; o-e-o

halden: to hold Principle Parts: halden (hældþ), held, is gehalden

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic halde Wiȝ hald
Þu hældst Ȝiȝ hald
He, Scie, It hældþ Hje hald
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic held Wiȝ helden
Þu heldst Ȝiȝ helden
He, Scie, It held Hje helden


  • ƕopen: to threaten (ƕœpþ, ƕepp, geƕopen)

Type 7 IrregularEdit

These type 7 verbs are the remnants of the reduplication verbs.

spaten: to spit Principle Parts: spaten (spætþ), speft, is gespaten

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic spate Wiȝ spat
Þu spætst Ȝiȝ spat
He, Scie, It spætþ Hje spat
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic speft Wiȝ speften
Þu speftest Ȝiȝ speften
He, Scie, It speft Hje speften


  • beaten: to beat; (beaten, beft, gebeaten)
  • dræden: to dread; (drædþ, drerd, gedræden); with reflexive dative, accusative of thing; hje drædeþ hjem þen Kraken they're afraid of the octopus; without dative, uses genitive; scie drædeþ þes Kraken.
  • haaten: to be named, call; (hætþ, heht, gehaaten)
    • to be called: (hatte); he hatte Michael: he is called Michael
    • to name, call: þu hætþ hin Nick: you call him Nick. (with double accusative)
    • to order, command; (hætþ, heht, gehaaten); he heht mic kommen: he ordered me to come (w.a. pronoun and infinitive)
  • laken: to play, jump around; (lækþ, lelk, gelaken)
  • læten: to let, allow; (lætþ, lert, gelæten)
  • ondræden: to dread; (ondrædþ, ondrerd, ondræden)
  • ræden: to advise; (rædþ, rerd, geræden)
    • this verb has several meanings:
    • to read (rædþ, redd, geræden)
    • to advise (rædþ, rerd, geræden)
    • to interpret, explain (rædþ, redd, geræden)
    • weak: to prepare (rædþ, rædde, geræded)
    • geræden: to consult, give counsel; to arrange, direct, set in order, ordain (gerædþ, geredd, geræden)
  • spaten: to spit; (spætþ, spert, gespaten)

Weak VerbsEdit

There are 3 kinds of weak verbs, the type 1, type 2, and irregular (type 3).

Type 1Edit

Historically a large class of verbs, today these are those with vowel alteration in the past tense (formerly class 1b in Old English). Vowel alterations: e-o-o

þenken: to think Principle Parts: þenken (þenkþ), þohte, geþoht

Present Tense
singular plural
Ic þenke Wiȝ þenk
Þu þenkst Ȝiȝ þenk
He, Scie, It þenkþ Hje þenk
Past Tense
singular plural
Ic þohte Wiȝ þohten
Þu þohtest Ȝiȝ þohten
He, Scie, It þohte Hje þohten


  • bringen: to bring (brohte, gebroht)
  • bycgen: to buy (bohte, geboht)
  • dreccen: to afflict (drahte, gedraht)
  • dwellen: to hinder (dwallde, gedwalld)
  • kweccen: to shake (kwahte, gekwaht)
  • kwellen: to kill (kwalde, gekwald)
  • leccen: to moisten (lahte, gelaht)
  • ræcen: to reach (rahte, geraht)
  • reccen: to narrate (rahte, geraht)
  • seken: to seek, search, look for (sohte, gesoht)
    • ~ to: to try to get from (to): ic seke feif Bœke to þem Bokscoppen I'm trying to get five books from the bookstore
  • sellen: to sell (sallde, gesalld)
    • to sell for a price (~ wiþ): þu sellst þie Bok wiþ feif Pund? you're selling the book for five pounds?
    • to sell at a price (~ to): wiȝ selleþ Kaffee to þrim Pund. we sell coffee at three pounds.
    • to give something (w.a.) to somebody (w.d.); he sallde him þat Auto: he gave him the car
  • stellen: to place, put (stallde, gestalld)
  • streccen: to stretch (strahte, gestraht)
  • tæcen: to teach (demonstrate, show) (tahte, getaht)
    • to teach from books would be læren
    • to show the way: he tahte þem Werr þen Pæþ. he showed the man the path
  • tellen: to count (tallde, getalld)
  • þeccen: to cover (þahte, geþaht)
  • þenken: to think (þohte, geþoht)
  • þynken: to seem (þuhte, geþuht) impersonal w.d. pronoun; miȝ þynkþ, þat he is ȝong it seems to me that he's young.
  • weccen: to awake, wake, rouse from sleep (wahte, gewaht); transitive verb
    • to rouse from sleep
    • to enliven, stimulate, refresh
    • to excite, stir up
    • to raise what is depressed
    • to kindle, give life to; he wahte þat Fyr he kindled the fire
  • wyrken: to work (worhte, geworht); also seen as werken and worken
    • with accusative: to make, form, construct
    • to work, do, perform

Type 2Edit

Historically, verbs ending in -ian in Old English belonged to this class. Today these are all regular weak verbs.

Irregular Weak VerbsEdit

There are 4 weak verbs which are irregular, historically speaking.

  • haben: to have (hæfþ, hafde, gehafd)
  • hycgen: to think (hyjþ, hogde, gehogd)
    • this verb is used to mean: to think, consider, meditate; to determine, intend, strive; unlike þenken, which is used in all other cases of modern 'think'
  • libben: to life (lifþ, lifde, gelifd)
  • secgen: to say (sæjþ, sæjde, gesæjd)

Preterite PresentEdit

There are several preterite-present verbs, several of which are common modal verbs.

Present Indicative

kunnen-to know how to
singular plural
Ic kann Wiȝ kunnen
Þu kannst Ȝiȝ kunnen
He, Scie, It kann Hje kunnen

Present Subjunctive:

kunnen-to know how to
singular plural
Ic kunne Wiȝ kunnen
Þu kunnest Ȝiȝ kunnen
He, Scie, It kunne Hje kunnen

Present Perfect: ic habe gekuþ Present Perfect Subjunctive: þu habest gekuþ Past Indicative:

kunnen-to know how to
singular plural
Ic kuðe Wiȝ kuðen
Þu kuðest Ȝiȝ kuðen
He, Scie, It kuðe Hje kuðen

Past Subjunctive:

kunnen-to know how to
singular plural
Ic kyðe Wiȝ kyðen
Þu kyðest Ȝiȝ kyðen
He, Scie, It kyðe Hje kyðen

Past Perfect: ic hafde gekuþ; þat ic gekuþ hafde Past Perfect Subjunctive: ic hæfde gekuþ; þat ic gekuþ hæfde Future Indicative: ic werðe kunnen; þat ic kunnen werðe Future Subjunctive: þu werðest kunnen; þat þu kunnen werðest Future Perfect: ic werðe kunnen haben; þat ic XYZ werðe kunnen haben Future Perfect Subjunctive: þu werðest kunnen haben; if þu XYZ werðest kunnen haben

  • agen: to own (ag, agst, ag; ahte, geagen)
  • benugen: to need, want, require w.g.
    • principle parts: benugen (beneah), benohte, benugen
  • dugen: to avail, be of use (deag, deagst, deag; dohte, gedugen)
  • durren: to dare (darr, darrst, darr; dorste, gedurren)
  • frakunnen: to despise, scorn, mistrust
  • gemunen: to remember (geman, gemanst, geman; gemunde, gemunen)
  • genugen: to suffice, be sufficient, not be wanting w.g. (genugen (geneah), genohte, genugen)
  • kunnen: to know how to, can, be able to
    • principle parts: kunnen (kann), kuðe, gekunnen
  • magen: to be able to, can
    • principle parts: magen (mæȝ), mahte, gemagen
  • moten: to have permission to, may
    • principle parts: moten (mot, most), moste, gemoten
  • scullen: to be obligated to, shall (scall, scollde, gescullen)
  • þurfen: to need (þarf, þorfte, geþurfen)
  • unnen: to grant (ann, uðe, geunnen)
  • witten: to know (waat, wiste, gewitten)

Of the above, the modal verbs (which take infinitives to complete their meaning) are: kunnen, durren, magen, moten, þurfen, scullen, willen

Example: ic þarf gaan I need to go ic will gaan I want to go ic mot gaan I may go ic scall gaan I shall go ic darr gaan I dare to go ic mæȝ gaan I can go (I am able to go) ic kann gaan I know how to go

Wesen: To beEdit

The verb to be is irregular in practically every Indo-European language, and Niw Englisc is no different.

Present TenseEdit


wesen-to be
singular plural
Ic em Wiȝ sind
Þu ert Ȝiȝ sind
He, Scie, It is Hje sind


wesen-to be
singular plural
Ic seie Wiȝ seien
Þu seiest Ȝiȝ seien
He, Scie, It seie Hje seien

Present Perfect: wesen + gewesen: ic em gewesen Present Perfect Subjunctive: ic sei gewesen

Past TenseEdit


wesen-to be
singular plural
Ic was Wiȝ waren
Þu wast Ȝiȝ waren
He, Scie, It was Hje waren


wesen-to be
singular plural
Ic wære Wiȝ wæren
Þu wærest Ȝiȝ wæren
He, Scie, It wære Hje wæren

Past Perfect: ic was gewesen Past Perfect Subjunctive: ic wære gewesen

Future TenseEdit

Alone amongst all verbs, wesen has a future tense, supplied by the future infinitive been. Indicative:

wesen-to be
singular plural
Ic bim Wiȝ beeþ
Þu bist Ȝiȝ beeþ
He, Scie, It biþ Hje beeþ

Subjunctive (pronounced in two syllables bay-eh, bay-est, etc.):

wesen-to be
singular plural
Ic bee Wiȝ been
Þu beest Ȝiȝ been
He, Scie, It bee Hje been

Referring to the present or near present: Future Perfect: ic bim gewesen I will have been Future Perfect Subjunctive: ic bee gewesen I may want to have been

Referring to the past from a future time frame: Future Perfect: ic bim gebeen I will have been Future Perfect Subjunctive: ic bee gebeen I may want to have been