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Verb Selection and Past-Tense Morphology: Crystal's Criteria Revisited

Weiler, Brian

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e31828f50b8
Original Articles

Research findings concerning verb-level influences on past-tense morphology carry implications for the careful selection of treatment targets. Using 6 of the broad criteria for “good verbs to choose” proposed by D. Crystal (1985) more than 25 years ago as a framework, this article summarizes some of the more recent research with a nod toward potential clinical applications. Specific semantic, frequency, developmental, phonological, and syntactic considerations for verb selection are discussed. Information is provided with respect to typical language learners and, when possible, children with language impairment. The article concludes with thoughts on using research findings to inform a guided approach to the selection of past-tense intervention targets.

Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Corresponding Author: Brian Weiler, MS, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1215 21st Ave South, Medical Center East 8310, Nashville, TN 37232 (

Preparation of the manuscript was supported by a Preparation of Leadership Personnel grant (H325D080075; PI: Schuele), U.S. Department of Education. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views of the supporting institutions, agencies, or foundations.

The author has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2013Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins