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Sunken vs. Sank

Gail in San Diego, California, wonders what’s happening to past tense of verbs. She’s observed more uses of I could have went instead of I could have gone, and something had sunken instead of sank, and I was sat rather than I was seated...

Fotched a Heave and Catched a Fall

Michael in Morgantown, Kentucky, is pondering his grandfather’s phrase He fotched a heave and catched a fall meaning someone “made a quick bodily movement and fell.” Fotched is a dialectal past tense of fetch. This is part of a...

Two Kinds of “Fell”

Caroline calls from Clinch Mountain, Tennessee, to ask about two puzzling uses of the word fell, and not as in the past tense of fall. In books by J.R.R. Tolkien, she’s seen fell used as an adjective meaning “dreadful” or...

Buyed vs. Bought

Why is the past tense of buy not buyed but bought? Often the verbs most likely to have such irregular forms are the simplest, reflecting the residue of centuries-old grammatical features. This is part of a complete episode.

Palate vs. Palette

Need a mnemonic to remember difference between the spelling of the palate in your mouth and an artist’s palette? Associate the one in your mouth with the past tense of the verb to eat. This is part of a complete episode.