Tag Archive - conjugations

More Verbs To Drug You Through

Here are some lines that are similar to many I see in manuscripts I edit:

“After George drug Ralph through the mud, he sunk into his easy chair and watched TV.”

“The sun shined on the water after the sun had rose.”

“I sung a song after I swum across the lake, then I drunk a bottle of beer.”

Okay, I hope you saw some problems in these sentences. If you didn’t, that’s okay. That’s why you’re reading this blog post—to improve your grammar, right? So, don’t feel bad—you’re not alone. I’m not sure that we conjugate so many verbs incorrectly because this is how we’ve learned to talk, but whatever the reason, we need to use the correct conjugation of a verb in our writing.

If you want to get technical, what is happening is writers are using the past participle form (usually with had, as in “I had swum”) with the past indicative (the” regular old” past tense, as in “I swam.”) So here are the three correct forms of some verbs you may sometimes get confused (present, past, and past participle forms):

  • Swim, swam, swum
  • Shine, shined, shined (if you are shining shoes or some object)
  • Shine, shone, shone (if an object is shining on its own, such as the sun)
  • Rise, rose, risen (the sun had risen at six a.m.)
  • Raise, raised, raised (as in lifting your arm)
  • forbid, forbade, forbidden
  • Get, got, gotten
  • Bear, bore, borne (carry)
  • Bare, bared, bared (reveal)
  • Drink, drank, drunk
  • Hang, hanged, hanged (as in swinging from the gallows)
  • Hang, hung, hung (to suspend)
  • Shake, shook, shaken

And it’s drag, dragged, dragged—no, not drugged. That involves chemicals. Which makes me think of last week’s post and the misuse of lie and lay. “I lied on the bed after they drugged me there.” Some writers intend for this to mean they were reclining on the bed after someone pulled them along the floor. But I’m sure you see how this really means something entirely different (more like an abduction scene from a spy thriller, right?).