What I understand is that Defective verbs do not inflect.
Am trying to understand what the difference is between being defective and not inflecting - from reading the below wiki extract I cannot see the distinction.
Also - with modals like can/could and will/would etc - is "could" not a inflected form of "can"? (Inflection via base change to express past tense) How is that not inflection?
FROM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_modal_verbs The verbs customarily classed as modals in English have the following properties:
- They do not inflect, except insofar as some of them come in present–past (present–preterite) pairs. They do not add the ending -(e)s in the third-person singular (the present-tense modals therefore follow the preterite-present paradigm).
- They are defective: they are not used as infinitives or participles (except occasionally in non-standard English; see Double modals below), nor as imperatives, nor (in the standard way) as subjunctives.