Quick Guide:
  Verbs that indicate destination
  Verbs that indicate location

  Exercises and Activities


n the Germanic languages there are pairs of verbs that signify either a direction, i.e., someone placing something somewhere, or location, i.e., an object being somewhere. The pairs themselves are very similar and can be a bit confusing as some of them differ by only one consonant, with one of the verbs not differing in the infinitive at all.

Modern English presents even more confusion in that the endings of the past participial forms of some of these verbs have been dropped or absorbed into the preceding consonant, which makes it very difficult to tell whether the verb is a weak verb or strong verb (see Present Perfect and Past Participles), e.g., set is the past participle of set, but is it weak or strong?. (In fact, as early as the 14th century confusion arose over the forms of sit and set - Chantrell 457.) Additionally, the usage of these verbs is changing, for example, the difference between lie and lay.

 

 

Verbs that indicate destination

The following verbs indicate a destination of an object. These verbs are transitive, i.e., they may take a direct object, as well as weak verbs, as one will see in the past participles. The past participles of the verbs in Old English clearly indicate that they are weak verbs. These verbs, additionally, govern a prepositional phrase that governs the Accusative case in the event that a "two-way" preposition appears.

Kannst du das Buch auf den Tisch legen?
Can you lay the book on(to) the table?


Destination Verbs
English
Infinitive
(Past Part.)
Old English
Infinitive
(Past Part.)
German
Infinitive
(Past Part.)
set
(set)
settan
(seted)
setzen
(gesetzt)
place, "stell"
("stelled")1
stellan
(stelled)
stellen
(gestellt)
lay
(laid)
lecgan
(leged)
legen
(gelegt)
hang
(hanged)
hangian
(hangod)
hängen
(gehängt)

1As in Shakespeare's Sonnet 24: "Mine eyes hath played the painter and hath stelled / Thy beauty's form in table of my heart".

 

 

Verbs that indicate location

These verbs indicate a location of an object. These verbs are intransitive, i.e., they cannot take a direct object, as well as strong. Moreover, these verbs govern a prepositional phrase that governs the Dative case in the presence of a "two-way" preposition.

Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch.
The book lies on the table.

Location Verbs
English
Infinitive
(Past Part.)
Old English
Infinitive
(Past Part.)
German
Infinitive
(Past Part.)
sit
(sat)
sittan
(seten)
sitzen
(gesessen)
stand
(stood)
stondan
(standen)
stehen
(gestanden)
lie
(lain)
licgan
(legen)
liegen
(gelegen)
hang
(hung)
hangian, hōn
(hangen)
hängen
(gehangen)

 

(Old English forms from Mitchell and Robinson, Clark Hall)

 

 

 

Exercises and Activities
(Exercises open in a new window)

Destination vs. Location Verbs
Destination vs. Location Verb Forms
Destination vs. Location Verb Pairs
Location vs. Destination (1)
Location vs. Destination (2)
Location vs. Destination (3)

 

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