I have a problem. Originally, I had intended to write an article explaining conjugation rules for the past participle. That way, maybe I wouldn’t have to cringe every time I heard someone declare, “You should have came with us!”
I usually start brainstorming for these posts by thinking of situations or conversations in which the mistake comes up. For example:
“He should have come with us to that party!”
“Yeah, but you had drunk too much anyway, bro.”
“Dude, what are you talking about? I had eaten before and everything!”
“So you had planned on throwing up all over yourself?”
“… Lay off, man. We should have just gone home earlier.”
You see my problem. There is just no consistent way to form the past participle. Some say that technically, with so-called regular verbs (though if you ask me, there is nothing regular in English), the simple past tense and the past participle are the same. Thus, we can say that someone planned on throwing up or that he had planned on throwing up. Sometimes, the past and past participle forms of a verb can even be the same as the present — I bet now, I bet yesterday, I had bet before.
But there are just so many irregularities with this rule. There are some verbs that have an added “n” sound in their past participle forms: eat, ate, eaten; go, went, gone; and so forth. I thought to maybe start my article with this point. But how do I categorize those verbs whose past participles seem most frequently botched? Drink, drank, drunk? Come, came … then come again? (Pun only partly intended.)
I’ve decided to throw my hands up a bit and accept that English just refuses to play by the rules. Like derivative rules and the spelling of the word “onomatopoeia,” past participles are easier just memorized. (For those of you who wish to do so, I found this website helpful.) I suppose, given the confounding nature of the past participle, I’ll also have to listen to people telling me about the places I should have “went” for the rest of time. It’s a burden I do not bear alone. What about you, reader? What are some past participle pet peeves you have? Tell me about them!
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