So, I was having a discussion about verb tenses with a friend who is a copyeditor at a newspaper. The subject turned to us complaining about “pleaded” – the newspaperese past tense of “to plead”. Both of our NESIs say that it should be “pled”, by analogy with “to lead”/”led”.
That got us talking about “dove”, past tense of “to dive”, which I remember reading in Trask has taken over from “dived” in most American English dialects, by analogy with “to drive”/”drove”.
We started talking about other potentially silly irregular past tenses, and stumbled across an interesting case that I’m hoping someone can shed some light on. So, we have “to weave”/”weaved”. However, we do the analogy with “to leave”/”left”, and we get “weft” instead. Which is very, very interesting, because the noun forms, as in “weft and weave” (which I know I’ve read in a poem at some point), mean the two perpendicular thread directions on a loom.
So, the question is – does anyone know the order these words came about? It seems possible that the past tense was “weft”, and then on a loom you started to refer to the threads you had already weaved as “the weft”, and the thread you were just adding as “the weave”… and then for some reason the past tense got standardized.
“Wasted Words” from Stand Back: The Anthology by The Allman Brothers Band