Microsoft has developed a system for conjugating different verbs that could allow for a much-improved form of grammar check in foreign languages. And it is trying to patent it.

Application 20060195313 filed 31 August to the US Patent and Trademark Office aims to patent a "verb conjugating system" that "allows a user to input a form of a verb and display the verb forms."

The system would allow a user to input an infinitive or non-infinitive form of a verb. When a user inputs a non-infinitive form of the verb, the software would identify the corresponding base form of the verb. It then would use that base to display the forms for the verb.

Other characteristics of the technology would be to provide verb forms in a certain language when a user enters a verb in that language, and to identify the exact verb when a user enters the spelling for a verb that could pertain to one or more different languages, according to the patent application.

The verb-conjugating system may also allow a user to input a phrase that includes a verb, and will display the verb forms corresponding to that verb. It also may detect a misspelling of a verb form and provide suggestions for alternate spellings.

Inventors of the technology are Microsoft employees Eric J. Voetberg, Jinsong Yu, Mark D. Stumpf and Robert E. Parkin. Microsoft's intellectual property manager David Kaefer said that the patent is for the software Microsoft is developing, that will help people learn new languages. "Just like complex software algorithms can help a user spot flawed grammar or auto-correct spelling, software can help us learn new languages, and we’re building methods to do just that," he said.

Kaefer did not say when the software would be completed, or if it would become an actual commercial product on its own or be integrated into another one of Microsoft's products.