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Strong (grammatical term)

A strong inflection is an "irregular" inflection, in which the stem of a word changes. Its opposite is a weak inflection.

Table of contents
1 Examples
2 Origin of the term
3 "Strong" versus "irregular"
4 Adjectives and nouns
5 Cross-references


Strong verbs display ablaut.

Origin of the term

The term strong was coined with reference to the Germanic languages, but has since been used of some languages from other families whose inflections have similar characteristics.

"Strong" versus "irregular"

In the Germanic languages, a strong verb is one with an internal vowel change in the past or preterite tense. Strictly speaking, this is not the same thing as an irregular verb, since strong verbs follow certain patterns (more visible in the older Germanic languages that have larger numbers of them), and an irregular verb does not necessarily involve any vowel change (for example, "have" - "had" is irregular but not strong, while "ought" is defective, because it exists in only one tense).

Adjectives and nouns

A strong adjective or noun is defined according to the stem of the declension, and is not directly related to the notion of a strong verb; strong adjectives and nouns do not exist in modern English.


See also: irregular verb