«

»

Common Errors in Spoken English: Went or Gone?

Went or Gone? Forms of Verbs

by Owen Fourie

In a most informative and practical blog post, I found this error: “[This company] has truly went from strength to strength …”

I hear this usage of went—the past simple tense of to go—quite often, but I seldom see it in print.

What is happening here is a confusion of the forms of irregular verbs, those that do not conjugate as regular verbs do.

A helping verb is not needed if you use went

In the erroneous statement cited above, the verb went is used with the auxiliary (helping) verb has.

The past simple form of a verb, such as went, does not take a helping verb.

Here is the correction of the above statement:

[This company] has truly gone from strength to strength …”

For more examples of this error, note that some will say this:

  • They could have went with her.
  • She has went to the movies.
  • You had went on vacation.

If you use a helping verb, use gone, not went

This is what they should say, instead:

  • They could have gone with her.
  • She has gone to the movies.
  • You had gone on vacation.

Since gone is the past participle form of to go, it must take an auxiliary verb.

Here is a tabulation to help you to get a clearer grasp of the forms of verbs.

Regular Verbs

Base Form – the infinitive, which gives us the present simple tense Past Simple Tense Past Participle Present Participle

(add –ing to base form)

help helped helped helping
Person/ Number Present Simple Tense Past Simple Tense Past Perfect Tense Present Continuous Tense
3rd/Singular She helps He helped She had helped It is helping

Irregular Verbs

Base Form – the infinitive, which gives us the present simple tense Past Simple Tense Past Participle Present Participle (add –ing to base form; same as regular verb)
go went gone going
begin began begun beginning
come came come coming
do did done doing
eat ate eaten eating
fly flew flown flying
Person/ Number Present Simple Tense Past Simple Tense Past Perfect Tense Present Continuous Tense
1st/Singular I go I went I had gone I am going
2nd/Singular You begin You began You had begun You are beginning
3rd/Singular She comes He came It had come She is coming
1st/Plural We do We did We had done We are doing
2nd/Plural You eat You ate You had eaten You are eating
3rd/Plural They fly They flew They had flown They are flying

A useful tool for you

Of course, this is by no means a complete presentation of all you need to know about verb forms.

For a good grasp of this matter and more, here is a link to an excellent, free online tool that is easy to use for conjugating English verbs.

—-

Are there other uses of verb forms that leave you wondering if they are correct? Ask about them here and get clarification. Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

Here are more articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing.

Copyright © 2011 by English Essay Writing Tips www.englishessaywritingtips.com


2 comments

  1. Susan Grice

    I hear “sending well wishes…”. Shouldn’t it be good wishes?

    1. English Essay Writing Tips

      Yes, you are right. “Sending well wishes” sounds odd.

      Go to thesaurus.com by way of the following two links and you will see the difference.

      http://tinyurl.com/hwuhrau

      http://tinyurl.com/hmcrgt8

      For “well wishes” you will see “You are seeing web results for well+wishes because there’s not a match on Thesaurus.com.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>