Thursday, May 07, 2020


 Fred from Elk Rapids called in to vent about a coworker who uses the form stoled as the past tense of the verb to steal, as in “someone stoled my jacket when I wasn’t looking.”
You are correct to complain, Fred. It is substandard English.

The principle parts of that verb are steal, stole, stolen. The first part is used to form the simple present tense and the simple future tense (with shall or will):
·      Who steals my purse steals trash.
·      My neighbor will steal any tool not locked up or hidden from view.

The second part is used for the simple past tense:
·      Someone stole my jacket when I wasn’t looking.
·      She stole my heart the first time I met her.

The third part is used to form a more complicated past tense (with has, have, or had) and the simple *future perfect tense* (with shall have or will have)
·      While on parole, my cousin has stolen computer parts again.
·      They have stolen before, and they will do it again.
·      After she had stolen the jewels, she fled to Canada.
·      By next summer, I will have purchased a new motorcycle.
·      As of next month, Lois will have stopped smoking for ten years.

All this said, stoled is actually a perfectly good word in a very limited sense, something probably only the British monarchy or the formal clergy would ever use. Stoled (an adjective) means wearing a stole – a liturgical vestment that drapes around the neck and over the shoulders, or a woman’s long fur garment worn in the same way.
·      The stoled priest was ready to hear confessions.
·      The queen, stoled in ermine, walked slowly in procession.

    [The future perfect tense shows an action that will be completed before some definite
     future time. Both the starting time and the future finishing time are brought together
     in this tense. The word perfect here is used as a synonym for completed.]


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