Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The instrumental case was somewhat rare and occurred only in the masculine and neuter singular. It was strong and weak syllables pdf replaced by the dative. The grammatical gender of a given noun does not necessarily correspond to its natural gender, even for nouns referring to people.
Pronominal usage could reflect either natural or grammatical gender, when it conflicted. In this form of conjugation, the stem of the word changes to indicate the tense. The root portion of the word changes rather than its ending. Learning these is often a challenge for students of the language, though English speakers may see connections between the old verb classes and their modern forms. By the time of written Old English, many had changed.
The third class went through so many sound changes that it was barely recognisable as a single class. Regular strong verbs were all conjugated roughly the same, with the main differences being in the stem vowel. Originally, the weak ending was used to form the preterite of informal, noun-derived verbs such as often emerge in conversation and which have no established system of stem-change. By nature, these verbs were almost always transitive, and even today, most weak verbs are transitive verbs formed in the same way.
However, as English came into contact with non-Germanic languages, it invariably borrowed useful verbs which lacked established stem-change patterns. Rather than inventing and standardizing new classes or learning foreign conjugations, English speakers simply applied the weak ending to the foreign bases. The linguistic trends of borrowing foreign verbs and verbalizing nouns have greatly increased the number of weak verbs over the last 1,200 years. Additionally, conjugation of weak verbs is easier to teach, since there are fewer classes of variation.