More Frequently Confused Past Participles
Our podcast this week talks about how to clear up confusion about past forms like “I sneaked” vs. “I snuck” and “I had dreamed” and “I had dreamt” (spoiler: The answers are all in your dictionary). Here’s a longer list of verbs whose past forms cause a lot of confusion, along with the right choice or choices according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary. For any of them with multiple options, the dictionary’s preferred form comes first and other acceptable forms are introduced by “or.” Let me know if I’ve overlooked any and I’ll add them to the list.
DIVE. Past tense: dived or dove. Yesterday he dived. Yesterday he dove. Past participle: dived. In the past he has dived.
SPIT (meaning to eject from the mouth). Past tense: spit or spat. Yesterday he spit. Yesterday he spat. Past participle: spit or spat. In the past he has spit. In the past he has spat.
SPIT (meaning to skewer on a stick). Past tense: spitted. Yesterday he spitted the roast. Past participle: spitted. In the past, he has spitted many roasts.
SWIM. Past tense: swam. Yesterday he swam. Past participle: swum. In the past he has swum.
GET. Past tense: got. Yesterday he got a lot of attention. Paste participle: gotten or got: In the past he has gotten a lot of attention. In the past he has got a lot of attention.
RING. Past tense: rang or (now chiefly dialectical) rung. Yesterday he rang the bell. Yesterday he rung. Past participle: rung. In the past he has rung the bell.
LIE (meaning to recline). Past tense: lay. Yesterday he lay down on the lawn. Past participle: lain. In the past he has lain down on the lawn.
LAY. Past tense: laid. Yesterday he laid the book on the table. Past participle: laid. In the past he has laid the book on the table.
LEND. Past tense: lent. Yesterday he lent me money. Past participle: lent. In the past, he has lent me money.
SHINE. Past tense: shone. Yesterday the sun shone brightly. Past participle: shone. In the past, the sun has shone brightly.
But: In one instance, Webster’s New World recommends shined. When you use “shine” as a transitive verb meaning to make something shiny or bright, the past tense and past participle are both shined.” Yesterday he shined his shoes. In the past, he has shined his shoes.
TREAD. Past tense: trod or treaded. Yesterday he trod lightly. Yesterday he treaded lightly. Past participle: trodden or trod. In the past he has trodden lightly. In the past he has trod lightly.
WAKE. Past tense: woke or waked. Yesterday he woke early. Yesterday he waked early. Past participle: waked or woken. In the past he has waked early. In the past he has woken early.
HANG (meaning to suspend, as a door from its hinges). Past tense: hung. Yesterday he hung the picture on the wall. Past participle: hung. In the past he has hung pictures on the wall.
HANG (meaning to kill by suspending someone from a rope around the neck). Past tense: hanged. Yesterday he hanged the bandit. Past participle: hanged. In the past he has hanged bandits.
BRING. Past tense: brought. Yesterday he brought flowers. Past participle: brought. In the past he has brought flowers.
DREAM. Past tense: dreamed or dreamt. Last night I dreamed. Last night I dreamt. Past participle: dreamed or dreamt. In the past I have dreamed. In the past I have dreamt.