He eats/she eats/it eats

The Loom of Language by Frederick Bodmer, edited by Lancelot Hogben

In The Loom of Language: An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages, the author, Frederick Bodmer, argues that the third-person present indicative conjugation (of regular verbs) in English serves no purpose and that it should be eliminated for the hypothetical aim of making English into a more logical and easier-to-learn language.

To understand what Bodmer was talking about, let us see the following conjugation table for the verb ‘to eat’ in the simple present tense.

The Simple Present Conjugation of the Verb ‘to eat’

Among the 6 conjugations, 5 of them are in the form of ‘eat’. In a more logical world, the following table may be true.

The Logical Simple Present Conjugation of the Verb ‘to eat’

Now, 6 of the 6 forms are of the form ‘eat’. Bodmer argues that the -s ending serves no purpose since English is not a pro-drop language. No information is lost if we do not pronounced the s, and speakers of English will still understand us. English is a pro-drop language in informal settings.


— ‘Where you going?’

— ‘(I am) Going to the store’.

However, the -s ending (or the lack thereof) does help us differentiate between the present indicative and the present subjunctive in English.


It’s important that he arrive on time. (use of the present subjunctive in English)

While Bodmer’s example is a not a realistic option for English, it is a useful case study for constructed languages.



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Shay Chu

Shay Chu

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