Old English differs from Modern English language

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      Old English was an inflectional or synthetic language. Modern English is an analytical language and has got rid of inflections by expressing the relation between words through the relative position of words. They were a large number of inflections which were necessary to explain the various relationships that exist between one word or another in a sentence. Thus OE, dag (a day), dagas (days), dages (of a day), daga (of days), dage (of a day), dagum (on days).

Thus it is seen that old English grammar was an extremely complicated affair. Modern English has got rid of most of the inflections and artificial distinctions. In modem English the relation between two words is expressed by their relative position in the sentence.
Old English vs Modern English

      Nouns and verbs were kept distinct in Old English. Nouns (as also adjectives) were divided into various classes for purposes of declension. Nouns, pronouns and adjectives had at least four cases - nominative, accusative, dative and genitive (.e., possessive). The gender - system was grammatical and not natural. Thus stone (stan) was masculine, sun (sunne) was feminine and wife (wif) neuter. Woman (wifmann) was masculine.

      Adjectives were inflected in accordance with the noun which they qualified. Adjectives had four cases with singular and plural for each, and all these had different forms for masculine, feminine and neuter.

      The verbal system was also complicated. There were strong verbs and weak verbs as there are in modern English. But the strong verbs themselves were divided into six classes with distinct conjugations. The weak verbs had three classes. Besides these, there were a few preterite - present verbs, a few irregular verbs and a few impersonal verbs (Methinks is one of the few survivals of this use). Moreover, the ending (or inflection) of the verb changed from one mood to another, from one person to another and from one number to another.

      In old English, there was no form to indicate future sense. Later, sceolan and willan came to be used in some cases. Again there was no way to express what is now regarded as the present perfect tense. Later 'habban' (modern have) came to be used, but it could be used only with transitive verbs. The perfect tense of an intransitive verb was made with the help of the verb weorban (equivalent to modern be).

      Thus it is seen that old English grammar was an extremely complicated affair. Modern English has got rid of most of the inflections and artificial distinctions. In modem English the relation between two words is expressed by their relative position in the sentence. The progress of English has been said to be from chaos to cosmos. In point of vocabulary, modern English is infinitely richer than the old. This enrichment of English is due to the capacity of the language to pick words from various sources whenever necessary and to its frequently forming new words out of the materials at its own disposal.

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