Fly, Flew, (has) Flown—-Flied?

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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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12 thoughts on “Fly, Flew, (has) Flown—-Flied?”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?


  6. 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.


  7. 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.”

  8. 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.

  9. Why does fly become flew in simple past and not flied? For all other words ending with y and which have a consonant before y the “y changes to i and add ed” rule applies. Why is fly the exception?
    I don’t know the answer and neither does pir baba, Google.
    What are etymological roots of this usage is what I want to know.
    Would be grateful for any leads, if not the answer itself.
    Thank you.

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