I admit that I make mistakes sometimes, but I also try to think before or while I’m speaking. Having grown up in West Virginia, I always felt that I needed to try just a little harder to not sound stupid, because some people, upon learning that I am from WV, assume I am uneducated or start in on the “you know you’re a redneck if” jokes or other generally accepted jokes about inbreeding that are never funny.
Also, since my major in college was English, I just notice stuff. Improper use of the apostrophe s. The confusion of there, their and they’re. These things are like red flags that I just automatically see.
In spoken word, one of the things that irritates me most is when people misuse the past tense and past participle tense.
Take the word “eat,” for example. The sentences below, which I hear more often than I could care to admit, are incorrect.
We have ate.
And you wouldn’t even believe that some people I know have created a new word, ete. It’s kind of like ate, but uses an “eh” sound at the beginning.
No, I am not joking. I wish I were.
Back to the lesson.
Present Tense – eat
Past Tense – ate
Past Participle – have eaten
We have eaten. OR We ate. *
*We ate earlier, etc., could also be used.
If you happen to still be reading this geeky post, I’m including a few links, just for fun and giggles.
Because, you know, I had to study this stuff at length to earn that piece of paper and I think it’s so important and useful, that I just want to share. 🙂
The first two links offer good examples and explanations of the participle and past participle. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, scroll down until you find the links for gerunds and fricatives.