Are there any pairs of words like “beloved”/”belovèd”, “learned”/”learnèd” that maintain a semantic difference to the present day?

When I first read Romeo and Juliet in high school, I remember being intrigued by pairs of words such as,




where there’s an accent grave on the ‘e’ of the last syllable of one of each pair of word.

One thing I’ve always thought is that, strictly interpreted, beloved can really only be used as an adjective; if one wants to refer to the noun, as in my beloved, it should properly spelt as belovèd. Similarly, I’ve always thought that learned is, strictly speaking, only acceptable as the past tense of the verb to learn, and that if one wanted to refer to the adjective form meaning “educated”, as in learned scholar, it would properly be spelt as learnèd. I don’t remember where exactly I got these impressions from, and I don’t know if they are correct.

So my question is: Were there or is there any semantic difference between such pairs of words, or is it just a spelling idiosyncrasy? If there were such differences, do any persist to the present day?

Addendum: These aren’t the only such pairs; there are others, I distinctly remember seeing many in lots of Shakespeare’s plays…


There is definitely a difference in the meaning of dogged (verb past tense, one syllable) and doggèd (adjective, two syllables), even though they’re both generally spelled without the accent.

Shakespeare used both forms, and seems to have pronounced dogged with one syllable, and doggèd with two.

Whose reputation will be dogg’d with curses; —Coriolanus.
And dogged York that reaches at the moon, —Henry VI.

Source : Link , Question Author : Uticensis , Answer Author : Peter Shor

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