Show (irregular verb)

From Hull AWE
Jump to: navigation, search


'To show' is an irregular verb. Its forms are given here:

Base form past tense -ed participle Remarks
show showed shown or showed (The 'regular variant' of Class 2)
Sometimes archaically spelled shew, shewed, shewn
This is one of the "the 250 or so irregular verbs" listed in Quirk 1985. The list "contains most of the irregular verbs in present-day English ... but is not meant to be exhaustive, particularly with regard to derivative verbs." AWE has copied most of the entries in that list. The verb 'to show' belongs to Quirk's Class 2
A further note may help.
The past tense of the verb 'to show' is showed: 'The parent showed the child how to eat with a knife and fork.' In present day English, the past participle is normally shown: 'I have shown you how to do this many times before.'
Sometimes the participle showed is used instead. When to use it is largely a matter of mother-tongue speakers' 'feel' for the rhythms of the language. I do not advise non-native speakers to bother with it. For grammatical accuracy, I will quote the OED:
"The older showed is still sometimes used in the perfect tenses active (chiefly with material object), but in the passive it is obsolete except as a deliberate archaism" (s.v. show).

See also shew - shewn - shewed for another 'deliberate archaism'.