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7 Comments

  • People seem to struggle with “drink” more than they do with similar-sounding verbs like “sink”, presumably because “drunk” has taken on a different meaning. The strangest one I’ve heard is “drinken”.

  • On the other hand (I have known folks who have consistently used the simple past in what I consider the perfect past slot) there are signs that folks are learning toward a strong verb where a weak verb is considered standard. I have seen sunk/sank fairly often in the last few years. I was startled (and offended) when a columnist found “snuck” peculiar (as opposed to sneaked?), since I use it consistently. There are more than a few like this. When in doubt, I like to use the “stronger” sounding verb. Feel free to invent your own strong verbs if they sound right (or even if they only sound reasonable).

  • I heard it said years ago that the past simple form instead of the past participle in the present perfect was standard in East Midlands (UK) dialects of English. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this also applies to other regional varieties …

  • These mistakes hav been made for centuries. You can only keep noting the words rightly so that others can see them. I’m with Jonathan … sometimes I slip with and say “drank” when I should hav said “drunk” otherwise I tend to note old strong forms when writing that are now thought by most to be archaic … like “slidden”.

  • Then there’s the opposite problem of people saying (and I quote the way I’ve heard it in Birmingham), “I sin ya down the pub last week”!

  • Of course, no one laments or curses the changes that happened before they noticed them. “He has holpen me” has as close to vanished as a word can (it’s labeled archaic but I doubt anyone has actually said it in centuries”.