Neo-Quenya/Past Tense

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Regular formation[edit]

The basic ending to form the Past Tense is \5$ -.


Following verbs follow the regular formation:

A-stem verbs with a long central syllable that do not end on \hÍE -ya
  • 9.D1E\ hauta- "stop" → `B `Vm# 9.D1E5$ i elda hautanë "the elf stopped"
  • j&,D\ lussa- "whisper" → j&,D5$t:$ lussanemmë "we both whispered"
  • t~N1E\ móta- "labour" → t~N1E5$j´$ mótanelyë "you laboured"
  • `Cq1E\ apta- "deny" → `Cq1E5$5Ì$ aptanenyë "I denied"


U-stem verbs with a long central syllable:
  • 5&7;U\ nurru- "grumble" → 5&7;U5$5 nurrunen "I grumbled"


Primitive verbs on \6 \5 \t -r, -n or -m:
  • 1T6\ tir- "watch" → 1T65$8 tirnes "he watched"
  • 1Et\ tam- "tap" → 1Et5$1R8 tamnentes "they tapped it"
  • aF5\ cen- "see" → aF5:$5 `B `Cm# cennen i alda "I saw the tree"

Primitive verbs[edit]

Nasal inversion[edit]

The primitive verbs that end in \1= \a= \q= \j= \z- -t, -c, -p, -l, -qu undergo the so called nasal inversion because the \5 -n of the past ending is placed before these consonants
(the reason is that the clusters: 15= a5= q5= j5= z5- tn, cn, pn, ln, cwn are not allowed in Quenya).

  • t#1\ mat- "eat" → t#4$ mantë "ate"
  • 9C1\ hat- "break" → 9C4$ hantë "broke"
  • 1Ea\ tac- "fasten" → 1Ef$ tancë "fastened"
  • qRz\ pequ- "comb" → qRv$ penquë "combed"


When a primitive verb ends in q p, Quenya/Phonology dictates that 5q np changes to r mp:

  • 1Yq\ top- "cover" → 1Yr$ tompë "covered"


And 5j nl changes into ll:

  • nTj\ wil- "fly" → nTj°$ willë "flew"


There is one final group that undergoes nasal inversion, these are the verbs on -d. In modern Quenya, a single d changes into 7-6 r. Careful consideration is needed when we meet a primitive verb on \6 -r, because if this r descends from a d, its past tense changes into 2 nd (otherwise the past tense is regular, see above).


Following verbs belong to this group:

  • 9C6\ har- "sit" → 9C2$ handë "sat"
  • 9ÍC6\ hyar- "plough" → 9ÍC2$ hyandë "ploughed"
  • 5%6\ nir- "press" → 5%2$ nindë "pressed"
  • zT6\ quir- "stir" → zT2$ quindë "stirred"
  • zY6\ quor- "choke" → zY2$ quondë "choked"
  • 7D6\ rar- "peel" → 7D2$ randë "peeled"
  • 7R6\ rer- "sow" → 7R2$ rendë "sowed"
  • iR6\ ser- "rest" → iR2$ sendë "rested"
  • iT6\ sir- "flow" → iT2$ sindë "flowed"


Vowel lengthening[edit]

The primitive verbs that end in \y -v or \8 -s do not get the regular ending \5$ -, but instead lengthens the central vowel and gets the ending \`V -ë:

  • 1Uy\ tuv- "find" → 1~MyR túvë "found"
  • 1ÎEy tyav- "taste" → 1Î~CyR tyávë "tasted"
  • iT8\ sis- "fry" → 8~BiR sísë "fried"


A-stems/U-stems with short central syllable[edit]

These verbs can be conjugated by the regular formation, but most of the time their final \`C -a or \`M -u is dropped and they are conjugated as if they were primitive verbs:

  • aDyE\ cava- "dig" → a~CyR cávë "dug" (or aDyE5$ cavanë)
  • t#aD\ maca- "forge" → t#f$ mancë "forged" (or t#aD5$ macanë)
  • 5#zD\ naqua- "steal" → 5#v$ nanquë "stole" (or 5#zD5$ naquanë)
  • ½j#qU\ hlapu- "blow" → ½j#r$ hlampë "blew" (or ½j#qU5$ hlapunë)
  • j&1U\ lutu- "float" → j&4$ luntë "floated" (or j&1U5$ lutunë)


These two verbs can never be conjugated by the regular ending:

  • qEqE\ papa- "tremble" → qEr$ pampë "trembled"
  • qE1E\ pata- "rap" → qE4$ pantë "rapped"


The verbs on \nE -wa only apply in this case:

  • eDnE\ fawa- "smell" → eDx$ fangwë "smelled" (or eDnE5$ fawanë)
  • 7DnE\ rawa- "run" → 7Dx$ rangwë "ran" (or 7DnE5$ rawanë)


And verbs on \dE -ha are always regular:

  • 5Ì$dE\ nyeha- "weep" → 5Ì$dE5$ nyehanë "wept"

Note: the central syllable in 5#a|D\ maxa- "cook" and 7Ua|D\ ruxa- "crumble" is long as a| x is short for the consonant combination cs.


A-stem verbs on -ya[edit]

These verbs have two different past tenses which are used depending on whether it is used transitively or intransitively.


A verb is used transitively when it has a direct object, and intransitively when it doesn't have a direct object.

  • when a verb on hÍE -ya is used transitively it has a regular past tense,
  • when a verb on hÍE -ya is used intransitively its past tense is formed by dropping the ending hÍE -ya and conjugating it as if it were a primitive verb.


So we have three cases:

Transitive verbs which require a direct object, these are always regular:
  • 9C7ÎE\ harya- "have, possess" → 9C7ÎE5$ haryanë "had, possessed"
  • 9C7ÎE5$8 7Ya;Y haryanes rocco "he had a horse"


Intransitive verbs (these cannot have a direct object), they are always conjugated as primitive verbs:
  • j#tÌ#\ lamya- "sound" → j#t5$ lamnë "sounded"
  • `B 5Ì$j°% j#t5$6 i nyelli lamner "the bells sounded"


Transitive verbs that can be used intransitively, these verbs have two forms in the past tense:
  • `Mj´#\ ulya- "pour, overflow" → `Mj´#5$ ulyanë "poured" and `Mj°$ ullë "overflowed"
  • `B 5~B8 `Mj´#5$ 5~V5 i nís ulyanë nén "the woman poured water"
  • `B 8~B7R `Mj°$ i sírë ullë "the river overflowed"


  • hÍR7ÎE\ yerya- "wear out, get old" → hÍ7ÎE5$ yeryanë "wore out" and hÍR65$ yernë "got old"
  • `B 5~V6 hÍR7ÎE5$ `B aYj°# i nér yeryanë i colla "the man wore the cloak out"
  • `B 5~V6 hÍR65$ i nér yernë "the man got old"


Irregular Past Tenses[edit]

Some verbs are completely irregular:

  • `C4#\ anta- "give" → ~C5$ ánë "gave"
  • aDn\ caw- "bow" → a.D5$ caunë "bowed"
  • `B81E\ ista- "know" → iG4$ sintë "knew"
  • j#j#\ lala- "laugh" → j#2$ landë "laughed"
  • j$j´#\ lelya- "go, travel" → j$2$ lendë "went, travelled"
  • j^t\ lom- "hide" → j^w$ lombë "hid"
  • `H4#\ onta- "create" → ~N5$ ónë "created"
  • iR61E\ serta- "tie" → 8~V7R sérë "tied"
  • 1R5\ ten- "show" → 1Rs$ tengë "showed"
  • yT4# vinta- "fade" → yT4$ vintë "faded"


Two verbs have both an irregular and a regular form:

  • `C1Ej1E\ atalta- "collapse" → `C1Ej#4$ - `C1Ej1E5$ atalantë/ataltanë "collapsed"
  • `N61E\ orta- "stand, get up" → `N6Y4$ - `N61E5$ orontë/ortanë "stood, got up"


However, the latter is said to be a difference in conjugation between intransitive "rise" and transitive/causative "raise" homonyms, thus:

  • `B `Vm# `N7Y4$ I Elda oronte "The Elf arose" but `B `Vm# `N61E5$ t~C7ÎE I Elda ortane márya "The Elf raised his hand."


The irregularities of some special verbs can be found on a separate page.



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