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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reader Question: Irregular Verbs

A reader wants to know about this:

How about irregular verbs?
I decided to refresh my grammatical skills before starting university this fall, and I forgotten about those annoying irregular verbs and using some of them correctly...
Especially lie, lay, lain, laid, and etc... I tested some of my friends (and these are people with MBA, PhDs, etc) and I couldn’t believe how many of them didn’t know the difference or how to use them properly.
I don’t blame them though, because I was using the present tense of lie as lay until last week.

"Lay" and "lie" are easy to confuse. I did cover the different tenses in this post.

What other irregular verbs give you trouble?


ChildsPlay said...

Recently, I was trying to describe a half-consumed bottle of Coke, and I couldn't decide between half-drunk and half-drank.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Good one. Here's the scoop:
I drink water every day.
I drank water yesterday.
I have drunk a lot of water.
You could do the same with sing, sang, sung.
So I half-drank the Coke would be correct.

ChildsPlay said...

In this case, I was describing the Coke that someone had stolen from the refridgerator. (Yes, someone stole half a bottle of Coke.) So would I say, "To whomever stole my half-drank bottle of Coke"?

The Sentence Sleuth said...

You would say "my half-drunk bottle." The verb form "drunk" is acting as a past participle (e.g., I have drunk many sodas in my lifetime). This would be similar to "half-eaten sandwich." You wouldn't say, "half-ate sandwich."