Much ado ablaut shitting

Strong Language is a blog that help you rationalize your filthy mouth because it adds an intellectual bent to it. If you want to dig deeper in the history and the hows and whys of the art of swearing, this is the place to go. Enjoy!

Strong Language

pile-of-poo

Shit has been with us an awfully long time—it appears in Old English as scitan—yet we can’t seem to agree on the past tense of the verb. Is it shit? Shat? Shitted?

My theory for why we haven’t settled this issue has partly to do with its ‑it ending, which, based on similar verbs in English, can get pulled in several different directions as we try to derive a past form. And because shit is vulgar, we generally use it less often than other verbs ending in ‑it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 11.11.02 AM Not exhaustive, obviously, but an example showing the relative frequency of English verbs that SHIT might emulate.

So rather than having a past tense at the ready, maybe we build it on the go, by analogy:

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