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Early Middle English for today

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Adjectives & Adverbs

At a glance

The key differences between Early Middle English (eME) and Modern English (ModE):

  1. -e is added before plural nouns or when an adjective represents a plural noun or pronoun;
  2. -e is added after 'the', demonstrative adjectives and possessive pronouns;
  3. -e is added to an adjective to form the corresponding adverb.

adding ~e to adjectives

Adjectives ending in a consonant add an e in the following circumstances:

forming adverbs

In ModE, adverbs are generally formed from adjectives, by adding -ly. In ME the corresponding ending is -e. Hence ModE bold boldly is equivalent to ME ba__ld ba__lde.

The ending -li__ce exists in ME, but this is the adverbial form of the adjectival ending -lic. It is not applied universally, to all adverbs in ME.

Note also that there are traces of the ME adjectival ending -lic in ModE adjectives such as lively and lovely and manly i.a.

The adverbial use of the genitive case of nouns is also common in ME. Examples are day%es (daily) and t`ankes (willingly).

"of all"

of all in ModE expression such as best of all, first of all, worst of all etc, appears as a prefix in ME - alre-.

Hence alrebest, alrefirst, alrelaest, alrele__fest etc

See also optional grammatical variations.

  1. note - plural noun but no marker