General Question

hiiiiiiii's avatar

In old English why do they put e's at the end of words that don't have e's at the end anymore?

Asked by hiiiiiiii (121points) June 5th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

essieness's avatar

Waits for Jeruba…

DarkScribe's avatar

Just to annoy us.

What are you talking about? Old English? Anymore? Have you been borrowing the Tardis or something?

Zaku's avatar

Because in ye olde times, there be noe dictionairee.

People used to write words the way they spoke in their local (olde) dialects. So the answer depends on what specifical-E you be talking aboute.

hiiiiiiii's avatar

I will write a poem by John Donne

GOE, and catche a falling starre,
Get with child a mandrake roote,
Tell me, where all past yeares are,
Or who cleft the Divels foot,
Teach me to heare Mermaides singing, 5
Or to keep off envies stinging,
And finde
What winde
Serves to advance an honest minde.

If thou beest borne to strange sights, 10
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand daies and nights,
Till age snow white haires on thee,
Thou, when thou retorn’st, wilt tell mee
All strange wonders that befell thee, 15
And sweare
No where
Lives a woman true, and faire.

If thou findst one, let mee know,
Such a Pilgrimage were sweet; 20
Yet doe not, I would not goe,
Though at next doore wee might meet,
Though shee were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet shee 25
Will bee
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

jfos's avatar

I think having an ‘e’ at the end of a word indicates that the vowel in the word is pronounced with a long vowel sound. As Americans developed, the ‘e’ was probably dropped habitually. That’s just a guess…

Darwin's avatar

Often those extra e’s were pronounced. We got tired of doing that and so gradually stopped pronouncing them. Once we quit saying them, people started to forget to put them on there. So now they are gone.

Find a recording of some expert reading Chaucer and you will hear what I mean.

Harp's avatar

Old English, like German and Latin, used a grammatical convention called “case” that helped define the role of a noun, adjective or pronoun in the sentence. The -e tacked onto the end of a word identified its case. We no longer use cases, so many of these final e’s were dropped.

It’s hard to know whether they were consistently pronounced or not. By Chaucer’s time (Middle English), some of the final e’s were pronounced and some weren’t. We know this because Chaucer wrote in measured verse, so we can tell how many syllables a word had. Clearly, sometimes the final -e added a syllable to a word, but often not.

kenmc's avatar

To make me feel fancy when I drink it.

cyn's avatar

Because they wanted to..In modern English why do they take out the e’s at the end of words that have e’s at the end?

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther