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Grammar Granny        < Previous        Next >


'Went' Vs. 'Gone'


A grammar problem that's more common in speech than in writing is substituting "went" for "gone." Example: "I should have went to the store." The proper form is "I should have gone to the store."


The confusion probably stems from the fact that it is proper to say, "I went to the store," and most of the time you can add "should have" to most verbs and the verb won't change. "I kicked the ball" properly becomes "I should have kicked the ball." But it's not the same with the verb "go" in this situation. It changes to "went."


How can a person be able to get it right on paper, but not while speaking? The brain is able to construct properly on paper, many times, better than when a person is speaking off the cuff. Perhaps it is the kinesthetic cues of holding a pen, or typing on a keyboard, that help direct someone who's in this habit to be able to write it right, but say it wrong.


The best way to prevent this hard-to-break habit is to be vigilant with your children, and quietly and privately correct them whenever you hear them say it wrong. Have them say it again, correctly, so that the bad habit doesn't take root. And if you already have this habit, relax: you're not too far gone, and you don't have to worry where your grammar skills went. Just practice getting it right, and every time you get it wrong, correct yourself, and soon you'll have a new habit.



By Susan Darst Williams Grammar Granny 038 2006


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