Sunday, October 09, 2016


                                                                     [credit: Pinterest]

Penny asked why it’s incorrect to say I brang a bottle of wine instead of I brought a bottle of wine. She hears the former so often that it’s making her a bit insecure.

The confusion arises because there are two basic verb types, regular and irregular. The regular verbs are the ones that end in –ed when using the simple past tense or the past participle:

walk, walked, walked
            (I walk to school daily.)
            (I walked to school yesterday.)
            (I have walked to school for years.)
smell, smelled, smelled
            (I smell a gas leak.)
            (I smelled one yesterday, too.)
            (Other people have smelled gas a few times in the basement.)
laugh, laughed, laughed
            (I laugh whenever I watch the Three Stooges.)
            (We laughed at his joke because it was funny.)
            (My mother has laughed so often that she has developed laugh lines.)
The irregular verbs are off the chart when it comes to forming the simple past tense or the past participle. There is no consistency; they must be memorized.

begin, began, begun
bite, bit, bitten
bring, brought, brought
creep, crept, crept
cut, cut, cut
drink, drank, drunk
eat, ate, eaten
forbid, forbade, forbidden
go, went, gone
hit, hit, hit
lie, lay, lain
wear, wore, worn

Not an –ed in sight, but there is no uniformity, either. The brang error comes from modeling the word on the sing/sang/sung pattern, but there’s no good reason for that. We have to think, thank, thunk.

And a word of warning: Neil Diamond used poetic license when he wrote Play Me; don’t follow his lead:

Song she sang to me, song she brang to me,
Words that rang in me, rhyme that sprang from me
Warmed the night.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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