Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

Well-Hung (a short grammar lesson)

When I was young, I used the words dove and hung, as in, “I dove in the water,” and “I hung the picture on the wall.”

More and more lately, I’ve seen the words dived and hanged, especially in print, and I wondered if I’ve been saying it incorrectly all these years or if the words have gradually transformed due to common usage (will “irregardless” one day be considered a word?  Probably).

A little research in my handy dictionary (and on-line just to confirm) allowed me to learn the following:

With dive, both dived and dove are considered acceptable past tense verbs.  Dived is the earlier form, but the newer form of dove echoes words such as flung (past tense of fling) and drove (past tense of drive).  (thanks to our scuba diving brethren for this little insight – click here)

As for hang, hung is the proper past tense verb in every case except with executions, as in “He was hanged until he was dead.”  (click here)

Who knew?

Another interesting transformation: when I was young, it was pounded into our little brains again and again that we should say, for example, “Paul and I are going to the store,” not “Paul and me…”  This lesson appears to have been stressed so vehemently that now many people have gone to the other extreme, using “I” when “me” should be used, as in, “He went to the store with Paul and I.”  (It should be "me.")

And in the interest of marital harmony, it should be noted that correcting one’s wife about the aforementioned ill-use of “me” is ill-advised.

Copyright, 2015, Paul Heinz, All Right Reserved