I went through elementary school in the bad old days, when teachers drilled the class on irregular verbs. For example:
Student A: go, went, have gone
Student B: come, came, have come
Student C: write, wrote, have written
I don’t recall when the drills began, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t do them after the sixth grade. By then, as they say, we knew the drill.
From my experience I conclude that a child of eleven or twelve is capable of mastering the irregular verb forms. That’s why I don’t understand why so many grown-ups writing on the Web get them wrong. Here’s a sampling. By the way, one of these examples is from a writer of British English, and one is from the official web site of a museum in a large American city.
I’ve had this post sitting around for a while. Since I’ve written it, I’ve went back and forth about posting it.
A few weeks ago I started having wrist pain from playing too much basketball. Since then I’ve went to many doctors and some have said it’s tendonitis,
I want to publish my book I have wrote.
Paleo-Indian people are thought to have came to Wisconsin from the west and south about 12,000 years ago.
Old English had hundreds of what we now call irregular verbs, most of which have become regularized with -ed endings. For example, the old past forms of help–holp and holpen–now have the regular forms helped and helped.
The process of regularization continues. For example, while many speakers still prefer to say slay, slew, (have) slain, others have begun to say slay, slayed, (have) slayed.
The irregular verbs most resistant to change are the ones we use most frequently, like come and go. Because they are such high-frequency words, one can only wonder why speakers who have completed six or more years of formal education haven’t mastered their forms.
Perhaps readers of forums or amateur blogs aren’t troubled by “have came” or “have began,” but readers in search of accurate information probably wouldn’t attach much confidence to anything written on the following sites, each of which presents itself as a reliable source of knowledge:
Giant asteroids might have began the age of dinosaurs as well as ended it. (headline on science site)
Over the last few decades humans have began to bend and break the laws of natural selection—laws that have governed life on Earth for the past four billion years. (course offerings, university site)
Working with what we have at the moment, we have began putting some of our birds together so we can open up enclosures and make them much bigger! (Australian wildlife park)
Related post: Beware of the Irregular Past Participle Forms