What’s the Past Tense of Shut: Exploring Correct Conjugation

  • The word ‘shut’ remains the same in both the present and past tense forms.
  • ‘Shutted’ is not considered standard English and ‘shut’ should be used instead for the past tense.
  • Recognizing ‘shut’ as an irregular verb helps differentiate its past tense from the past participle, which is also ‘shut.’

The verb ‘shut’ is categorized as an irregular verb in English, which means that its past tense does not follow the standard pattern of adding ‘-ed’ to the base form. When identifying the past tense of ‘shut,’ it is essential to understand the established rules and exceptions within English verb conjugation. This understanding helps to demystify why certain verbs like ‘shut’ behave the way they do and ensures clarity in both written and spoken communication.

What’s the Past Tense of Shut: Shut or Shutted?

In English grammar, verbs have different forms to indicate different tenses. Regular verbs follow a predictable pattern, typically adding “-ed” to form the past tense. However, not all verbs follow this rule. Irregular verbs have unique past tense forms. The verb “shut” falls into this category, leading to confusion about its correct past tense form.

Current and Past Forms of “Shut”:

TenseForm
Presentshut
Pastshut
Past Participleshut

As demonstrated in the table, the verb “shut” retains the same form for the present, past, and past participle tenses. Contrary to what some might believe, the term “shutted” is not recognized as the correct past tense form in standard English.

Usage of “Shut” in Sentences:

  • Present:

    • She shuts the window every evening.
  • Past:

    • Yesterday, he shut the door quietly.
  • Past Participle:

    • The shop has been shut for the holidays.

Verb Forms of Shut

In the context of the past participle, “shut” also maintains consistency and is not altered to “shutted” or any other variation. This uniformity applies to different grammatical moods and aspects. To illustrate these applications, consider the following tables:

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Table 1: Simple Tenses of “Shut”

TenseForm
Simple Presentshut
Simple Pastshut
Simple Futurewill shut

Even when it comes to progressive aspects, the verb form remains unchanged in its past variant:

Table 2: Progressive Tenses of “Shut”

TenseForm
Present Progressiveis/am/are shutting
Past Progressivewas/were shutting
Future Progressivewill be shutting

A few key points to remember:

  • Shut is an irregular verb; the past form doesn’t take an -ed ending.
  • The past tense and the past participle forms are both “shut”.
  • When using “shut” in sentences, the form does not change whether it is past, present, or future tense.

Determining if Shut is a Regular or Irregular Verb

Regular Verbs

Base FormSimple PastPast Participle
WorkWorkedWorked
PlayPlayedPlayed

Regular verbs maintain a consistent structure which aids learners in mastering their usage.

Irregular Verbs

Base FormSimple PastPast Participle
GoWentGone
BreakBrokeBroken

Irregular verbs vary and are memorized through practice.

  • Shut is an example of an irregular verb.
  • Its past tense formation does not align with the regular verb pattern.

In determining whether ‘shut’ is regular or irregular, consider these points:

  • It retains the same form for the present, past, and past participle.
  • Its past tense is not formed by adding -ed or -d to the base form.
  • The correct past forms of ‘shut’ are both shut.

To clarify, ‘shutted’ is not recognized as a correct past tense form, hence solidifying ‘shut’ as an irregular verb. It is important to recognize this distinction to use the verb correctly in various tenses.

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Differentiating Between Past Tense and Past Participle of Shut

Past Tense:

  • Occurs when the action was completed in the past
  • Does not require auxiliary verbs

Past Participle:

  • Used in perfect tenses and passive voice
  • Requires an auxiliary verb such as “has,” “have,” or “had”

Examples in Sentences:

  • Past Tense: She shut the window because it was cold.
  • Past Participle: He had shut the door before the rain started.

Construction of Tenses with “Shut”:

TenseExample Sentence
Simple PastThey shut the store at 9 PM.
Present PerfectShe has shut the blinds.
Past PerfectIt had shut automatically.

Examples of the Present Tense Use of ‘Shut’

When using “shut” in the present tense, it conveys the action of closing something in the current moment. Let’s look at some straightforward examples demonstrating how “shut” is employed in present tense sentences.

Examples in Statements:

  • She shuts the window every evening to keep the bugs out.
  • The store shuts at 9 PM on weekdays.

Examples in Questions:

  • Do they shut the gates at night?
  • When does he shut his shop for lunch?
SubjectSentence Using “Shut”
II shut the book after reading.
YouYou shut the door gently.
He/She/ItHe shuts the laptop lid.
WeWe shut out the noise with earplugs.
TheyThey shut their accounts by the end of the year.

Examples with Negative Constructions:

  • The gardener does not shut the water off in the winter.
  • It doesn’t shut properly since it was damaged.
  • Shutting out distractions is essential during study time.
  • They are shutting down the machines for maintenance.
  • In this case, “shutting” is the present participle form, used for continuous aspects or as a modifier.
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Examples of ‘Shut’ in the Past Tense

The following tables provide examples of the verb “shut” in the past tense in regular sentence structure and in the form of questions.

Regular Sentence Structure with ‘Shut’

SubjectPast Tense Verb ‘Shut’Object/Complement
Ishutthe door yesterday.
Youshutthe windows last night.
Heshutthe gate before leaving.
Sheshuther book after reading.
Weshutthe shop at 8 PM.
Theyshuttheir laptops before the meeting ended.

Questions in Past Tense Using ‘Shut’

Question WordSubjectPast Tense Verb ‘Shut’Object/Complement
DidIshutthe alarm off?
Didyoushutthe door on your way out?
Didheshutthe office properly?
Didsheshutall the files before the update?
Didweshutthe system down before the storm?
Didtheyshuttheir accounts after the fiscal year?
  • The store shut promptly at 6 PM.
  • Yesterday, she shut the conversation down swiftly.
  • The festival shut its doors due to the storm.
  • He shut his eyes and wished for the best.

In each case, “shut” functions as the past tense of the verb, describing an action that has been completed. Remembering that “shut” remains the same in both present and past tense will help in constructing accurate and clear sentences.

Examples of ‘Shut’ as a Past Participle

Table 1: Perfect Tenses with ‘Shut’

TenseExample Sentence
Present PerfectShe has shut the window because it’s cold.
Past PerfectBefore we arrived, he had shut the shop.
Future PerfectBy tomorrow, they will have shut the garage.

Table 2: Passive Voice with ‘Shut’

Sentence StructureExample Sentence
Subject + (Auxiliary Verb) + be + Past ParticipleThe door was shut by the wind last night.
Subject + (Auxiliary Verb) + get + Past ParticipleThe store got shut early due to the holiday.
Question Form + (Auxiliary Verb) + be + Past ParticipleHad the gates been shut before the storm?

When using “shut” as a past participle in sentences, it’s crucial to pair it with the appropriate auxiliary verb to convey the correct tense and voice:

  • The files have been shut away in the cabinet.
  • The business had shut down before the economic downturn.
  • The library will be shut for renovations next week.

Origin of the Verb ‘Shut’

The verb “shut” comes from Old English “scyttan”, meaning to close a door or cover a space. It is part of the West Germanic family, originating from the Proto-Germanic *skutjaną, which likely meant “to shoot” (as in “shoot a bolt on a door to lock it”).

Evolution of ‘Shut’:

  • Old English: scyttan
  • Middle English: shutten
  • Modern English: shut

This evolution highlights the verb’s journey through linguistic changes while retaining its essential meaning.

CenturyForm
8thscyttan
14thshutten
21stshut

Usage examples in literature:

  • Beowulf (c. 1000 AD): References to closing or enclosing spaces
  • Shakespeare’s works: Common use indicating closing or ending
PeriodExample of ‘Shut’ Usage
Early Middle Ages“They shut the tomb.”
Elizabethan Era“The gates of mercy shut.”

Sources

‍1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of shut.” Online Etymology Dictionary.

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