Participles that may be on their way out

Speaking of non-standard participle use, here are three I think are probably disappearing:

  • Run – being replaced by “ran,” as in “I had ran”
  • Swum – being replaced by “swam,” as in “I had swam”
  • Become – being replaced by “became,” as in “I had became”

I say this because I’ve had 18-year old students to whom “I had ran,” “I had swam,” and “I had became” sound correct. They miss run-swum-become questions on ACT English. 

You can see what they’re doing. They’re “regularizing” the participle, which I think may be the way languages normally evolve (though I don’t know).

With regular verbs, the past tense and the past participle are the same. 

Present Past Past participle
Walk walked had walked
Enjoy enjoyed had enjoyed
Smell smelled had smelled

Run, swim, and become are different:

Present Past Past participle
Run ran had run
Swim swam had swum
Become became had become

My students’ mistake, which I predict won’t be a mistake not too long from now, is to apply the “past tense = past participle” rule to run, swim, and become: 

Present Past Past participle
Run ran had ran
Swim swam had swam
Become became had became

The politician I mentioned was doing the same thing:

Present Past Past participle
Go went had went 

That politician is quite a bit younger than a lot of his colleagues, by the way.

7 thoughts on “Participles that may be on their way out

  1. We had a song to learn the principal parts for “to go” —

    To go!
    go, goes

    (infinitive, present, past, present participle, past participle)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! Hmm. Now that’s an interesting thought.

        I do spend a lot of time steeped in language, between having taught all those grammar/diagramming classes, then a few years of beginning Latin.

        Though I’m not entirely sure what interesting things I have to say. Heh.


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