It is often assumed that all Sindarin verbs ending in -a are derived verbs. However, this doesn't have to be so, if the root itself contains an -a the verb may end in -a but still be a primary verb. An example for this may be gala- 'to grow' (PE17:131,173) from the root GAL. Here, the final -a may just be an extension of the root through another insertion of the sundóma (the stem vowel). In LR:357 the relevant root is given as GALA- and in PE17:131 the 3rd person sg. shows variants gala, gâl which would support this idea.
Thus, there was a past tense formation in primitive Elvish which was characterized by 1) a prefix consisting of the stem vowel and 2) a lengthening of the stem vowel. Thus, the verb *kwe- 'to speak' was changed to ekwē 'spoke' and the verb *kar- 'to do' into akāra 'did' (the ending -a probably represents an extension of the stem - the Quenya kar- > #káre (SD:246) indicates that it was dropped subsequently).
However, this was not the only mechanism of forming the past tense for primary verbs. The form echant 'made' (LOTR) is derived in PE17:42 as echant 'shaped out' < et-kantē for edagant. The basic verb is identified as et-kat-. The form can be analyzed as the result of an ending -nē used to form past tenses in primitive Elvish with subsequent change of the position of the nasal, resulting in nasal infixion, thus *et-kat-nē > *et-ka-n-tē > echant. Such nasal infixion is well documented for Noldorin  and Quenya , likewise the ending -ne is very common in Quenya past tenses. Even more revealing is the form edagant which would appear to show the same prefix applied to a form which shows both the stem vowel as an augment and nasal infixion, thus *a-kat-nē > *a-ka-n-tē > #agant. Thus, the augment was not limited to past tense formations in which the stem vowel was lengthened.
In order to appreciate Tolkien's choice of echant over edagant, one has to keep in mind that 'Words, Phrases and Passages' is a commentary on the published Text of LOTR. While LOTR was written, there is no sign that Tolkien ever envisioned the use of an augment in the Sindarin or Noldorin past tense. However, it is clear from the above that the augment was a crucial part of the Sindarin past tense in the later conception. Nevertheless, Tolkien could hardly alter the published text, thus he needed to find an explanation for the lack of the augment for each published form.
Further light on the augment is shed by PE17:93 where we find with regard to past tenses for the verb derived from the root MEN as MEN have as object, (in)tend, proceed, make for, go towards: [Q:] menta-, but past tense mennē-, perfect emēnie: in Sindarin these were blended into a past tense form emēnē-.
The implication seems to be that the augment survived in the Quenya perfect tense but not usually in the Quenya past tense (this is again confirmed in ) but that these forms blended into the Sindarin past tense (no distinct perfect tense for the Sindarin verb is known), leaving it with an augment and vowel lengthening (which is also characteristic of the Quenya perfect tense). Note that the given form can hardly be Sindarin but is probably rather Old Sindarin - the standard sound shift would create *evín 'went towards'.
With regard to the past tense of derived verbs, PE17:93 reveals that Sindarin verbal history is complicated and the use of -ant as 3rd person past tense ending is rather like that of Medieval Welsh -as or modern Welsh -odd. In other words, the Sindarin past tense of derived verbs cannot readily be understood from primitive Elvish developments but is rather an analogical later development.
There are also a few instances of past tenses by nasal infixion:
An interesting example is provided by
From these two examples, a suffix -nt (consistent with a weak past tense suffix found for derived verbs in Noldorin ) can be identified. This is the same suffix which by analogy leads to weak past tenses carfant, agarfant (see above).
Tolkien describes this in PE17:126 in more detail: -nt Sindarin past tense of transitive verb, -ir of intransitive agarfast 'he talked' agarfant beth [perhaps read agarfant bith] 'he spoke words'. The statement about -ir is somewhat puzzling as the example immediately below shows an ending -st in intransitive use. The latter ending reminds of the ending -s seen in weak intransitive past tenses in Noldorin .
Another example may be seen in unidentified forms in PE17:167 where to the verb raitha- '*to try' forms rithant, rithas are given which could represent transitive 'to try something' and intransitive 'to strive'. A following rithessin could then be taken as the first person 'I strived'. As the root is given as RIK, the pattern certainly agrees with what is expected for a derived verb. Hence perhaps
The last attested example shows a strong past tense for a primary verb: anta- has in Quenya the normal regular 'weak' past tense of such verbs (formed with transitive (accusative) -tā), antane. But in Sindarin is found a 'strong' past tense formed on the analogy with verbs using intransitive -tă only in the present/aorist (..) The S[indarin] antha- > anha 'give' pa.t. ōn- older ānē- [the sentence ends without a verb] (PE17:93) (the verb is also given as S: anta- in PE17:147 which seems an odd form given Sindarin phonology). Thus
However, there is a class of verbs which are derived with a suffix -tă which appears only in present tense and aorist. These verbs form a strong past tense in which the suffix is lost. Thus, had the verb been **ana-tă, its primitive past tense would have been **ānē and this form by analogie became the actual past tense. This would reveal much about the past tense of other derived verbs, if we could be sure about the precise derivation.
While all verbs with strong past tenses show an augment unless they start already with a vowel (with the possible exception of carfant which may have lost the augment by analogy along with the original past tense), none of the derived verbs with weak past tense shows an augment. The (Old Sindarin?) form emēnē as the past tense to *men-tă indicates that derived verbs can have an augment if they show a strong past tense.
The chief past tense formation mechanism for derived verbs seem to be endings -nt (which appears as such in Noldorin for transitive verbs and -st/-s (which has a Noldorin counterpart in -s) for intransitive verbs. This is indicated as an analogical development from frequent strong past tenses by nasal infixion.
The fact that as many as two analogical past tenses appear in a sample as small as the one presented here indicates that analogical past tenses play a considerable role, but given the relatively small sample of verbs, the precise impact is difficult to gauge.
 The Q(u)enya Past Tense by Thorsten Renk
 'Words, Phrases & Passages in The Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien, Parma Eldalamberon 17, edited by Christopher Gilson
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