Category: Verbs

Media Watch

Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at 10:51 pm

What better way to begin a Media Watch column than with headlines? Here are two recent ones that got our attention: • “Bacteria has sickened more than 100.” • “Foreclosure crisis makes taught thriller.” “Bacteria has sickened” is incorrect because has is singular and bacteria is the plural of bacterium. If the headline writer balked …

Read More

Why Irregular Verbs Are Strong

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at 11:05 am

When the authorities labeled certain verbs “irregular,” it was never intended as a putdown. Quite the opposite: another term for irregular verbs is “strong verbs.” In A Dictionary of Modern American Usage Bryan A. Garner explains: “Irregular verbs are sometimes called ‘strong’ verbs because they seem to form the past tense from their own resources, …

Read More

Irregular Verbs Can Be a Regular Pain

Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, at 4:05 pm

English verbs are either regular or irregular. We call a verb regular when we add ed (wanted, looked) or sometimes just d (created, loved) to form what are called the simple past tense and the past participle (see third and fourth paragraphs below). A regular verb’s simple past tense and past participle are always identical. …

Read More

Misbegotten Views on Gotten

Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at 6:11 pm

A few of you were dismayed by our using gotten in last week’s article. We wrote: “In recent years we have debunked some of these baseless ‘rules,’ and gotten a lot of heat from frustrated readers.” An exasperated gentleman from Australia was “shocked” by the appearance of “gotten,” which he denounced ex cathedra as a …

Read More

Media Watch

Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, at 6:29 pm

Here is another bundle of woeful lapses by the print and broadcast media. • Triple trouble from an international news organization: “Garcia graduated law school in California and passed the state’s bar exam, but has been forbidden from practicing law.” Using graduate as a transitive verb here is still frowned on by traditionalists. Make it …

Read More

1 2 3 4 5 7