Verb Mistakes #11: Fall, Ring, and Go

By Maeve Maddox

The verbs fall, ring, and go are irregular. That means that their forms must be memorized. A common error with these verbs is to use the simple past in place of the past participle.

fall
Present: fall, falls
Simple past: fell
Past Participle: (has/have) fallen

INCORRECT: Really, this is an ostensibly bright middle-aged man, who at one time was sky-high on the journalistic pecking order, but clearly has fell on hard times. —Political commentator, Splice Today.
CORRECT: Really, this is an ostensibly bright middle-aged man, who at one time was sky-high on the journalistic pecking order, but clearly has fallen on hard times.

INCORRECT: Tunisia has fell scoreless to open another quarter here and were forced to use another time out to cool off the Argentinian shooters.—Bleacher Report.
CORRECT: Tunisia has fallen scoreless to open another quarter here and were forced to use another time out to cool off the Argentinian shooters.

ring
Present: ring, rings
Simple past: rang
Past participle: (has/have) rung

INCORRECT: Go to the restroom before the bell rings, once the final bell has rang you cannot go to the restroom until the class change.—Math teacher’s rules.
CORRECT: Go to the restroom before the bell rings, once the final bell has rung you cannot go to the restroom until the class change.

INCORRECT: The final bell has rang for an afterschool program that parents, school officials, nonprofits and civic leaders say has been vital to sustaining healthy communities for the past 15 years.—Sun Community News.
CORRECT: The final bell has rung for an afterschool program that parents, school officials, nonprofits and civic leaders say has been vital to sustaining healthy communities for the past 15 years.

go
Present: go, goes
Simple past: went
Past participle: (has/have) gone

INCORRECT: Images of Aylin lying face down on a beach have went viral sparking a heated debate over the EU ethics in handling the refugee crisis that the continent has seen in the past few months.—Independent.mk
CORRECT: Images of Aylin lying face down on a beach have gone viral sparking a heated debate over the EU ethics in handling the refugee crisis that the continent has seen in the past few months.

INCORRECT: Economists: first warning bell has went off for Latvia’s competitiveness.—Baltic News Network.
CORRECT: Economists: first warning bell has gone off for Latvia’s competitiveness.

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4 Responses to “Verb Mistakes #11: Fall, Ring, and Go”

  • thebluebird11

    I’m sorry, I hate to be a stickler for these things because there are people who just don’t care and think I’m an old fuddy duddy. It just sounds incredibly uneducated, careless and childish for people to talk that way, like a 2-year-old who has not yet learned the rules of our language. Obviously, for people who are not native English speakers, I can forgive a lot, as I would hope they would forgive me if I had to learn a new language at this point in my life. But I think for native English speakers, this particular error is unforgivable.

  • venqax

    I agree, bluebird. I also think there are degrees of these crimes. The use of rang or swam or drank where rung, swum or drunk belong is so common it actually marks the “normal” from the exceptionally well-spoken. “Have went”, however, is so egregious that it’s hard to believe any native-English speaker would utter it. But they do.

    I know Maeve has just picked some examples of this issue but it really is a pandemic. Two that bug me regularly are broke for broken, especially in the adjective form, i.e. “This glass is broke”– undoubtedly because somone has broke it; and bit for bitten. I don’t know how many times I’ve bit my tongue to stopped myself from corrected those verb-forms mistaken people makes.

  • Lamont E. Wilkins

    Thanks for the reminders. I can’t tell if the first two people leaving comments are agreeing with Maeve Maddox’s examples or if they’re attempting to be humorous—not that humor can’t be serious. For one thing, their comments have several grammatical mistakes; for another thing, how can any rational person get that upset about “correct” usage? I guess they don’t skim Google news or BBC news once in a while to see what’s happening around the world.

    I just hope the person who wrote “this particular error is unforgivable” doesn’t actually think writers care about her forgiveness. It’s OK not to be perfect. Most of us allow ourselves, and others, to make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes turn out to be exactly what our writing needs. Just glad I don’t write only when I can flawlessly express what’s in my imagination. Mistakes or OK, except for those unfortunate people who never take a chance for fear of not being perfect.

  • thebluebird11

    @venqax: I know, it’s true, sometimes using the correct form does sound stuffy (like swum and even drunk), but them’s the rules. In cases like swum and drunk, I try to avoid using them so people don’t look at me cross-eyed. I will say ” I haven’t gone swimming in a long time,” rather than “I haven’t swum in a long time.”

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