Fly, Flew, (has) Flown—-Flied?

By Maeve Maddox

Reader Michelle asks if the past tense of the verb to fly can ever be flied.

Your column on  wake etc. reminded me of a verb form that I haven’t been able to figure out – fly, flew and flied.  I know that the past simple of fly is flew.  But is it always?  I investigated a bit, and found that flied can be used but I haven’t figured out exactly when. 

In contexts other than baseball (and baby talk), the principal parts of the verb to fly are

fly flew (have) flown

The bird flew the coop.
The hunter flew the hawk at a pigeon.
Charlie has flown his kite into the kite-eating tree again.
The honeymooners flew to Paris in the springtime.
We have flown with American five times.

In baseball, however, flied becomes valid usage.

A fly or a fly ball is a baseball hit into the air.

When the fly ball is caught by a member of the opposing team, and it is in bounds, the batter is out and the play is recorded as a “fly out.” The batter can then be said to have flied out.

In any context other than baseball, to use “flied” as the past form of to fly would sound strange, to say the least.

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11 Responses to “Fly, Flew, (has) Flown—-Flied?”

  • Al Jackson

    A Flea & a Fly once fell in a flue
    Said the Fliy, “Let us flee”
    Said the Flea, “Let us fly’
    So together they fled thru a flaw in the flue.

  • Grace S.

    It drives me nuts every time Dan Gladden (a radio announcer for the Minnesota Twins baseball team) says “He flew out in the second inning.” I have this vision in my head of a batter rising off the ground and sailing toward the shortstop. Ask my kids–I yell at the radio every time.

  • Peter

    So that’s a verbification of a noun (“fly (ball)”), not a wrong formation of the verb “(to) fly”, right? I’ve seen other cases like that…but I can’t think of any now. Might make an interesting article in the future if you could find more.

  • Rory Gold

    The thing I love about the English language, is that if you make up a word or even use an old word in a peculiar way, if it catches on the usage becomes part of the language. What was proper English 100 years ago is definitely not proper English today.

  • Prashant

    Hi, i want to ask my daughter how many kites did she flown since morning, please correct me

    Hi, Since morning how many kites did you flown?

    Thanks
    Prashant

  • Amanda

    Prashant,

    You would to ask in this way:

    How many kites have you flown since morning?

    In your question to all of us you wrote you want to ask your daughter “how many kites did she flown since morning”. Since you used the word “did”, you would then want to reword your question to “how many kites did she fly since morning”.

    See, it’s “have flown” or “did fly”.

    Hope this helps a little bit.

    Amanda

  • sw

    You cannot use did and past tense “flown” same time.

    I did went (WRONG)
    I did go (CORRECT)

  • frank rivera

    the question must be…. how many kites have you fly? well, i have flown….. that is good english a proper one

  • frank rivera

    shouldn’t it be ……have you fly a kite? yes , i have flown a kite …. NOT ….. have you flown a kite? THIS IS NOT GOOD ENGLISH !

  • Maeve

    frank rivera,
    I’m not clear as to what you are saying is good or bad English with the kite example.

    If “have” is used as a helping verb, then the form of the verb must be “flown.”

  • Travis

    There is no such thing as “good” English when discussing grammar. (Billiards is a different story.) English is either proper or improper. It is not good or bad. Additionally, the past participle of “fly” is “flown”. Therefore, “Have you flown a kite?” is correct. “Have you fly a kite?” is incorrect.

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