Principal Parts of the Verb TO FIT

By Maeve Maddox

Reader Barry Kemp has a question about fit:

One thing that has puzzled me for a while is the use of the word “fit”. It’s quite clear when one reads that “the new rug was a perfect fit in the apartment” But what is the rule for the past tense? We often read something like “it was a long stuggle but in the end he fit the pieces together” or “she slipped it on and the suit fit her perfectly” It is quite clear these sentences are past tense so why do we not use the past tense “fitted”?

This is one of those puzzles created by the differences between British and American usage.

British usage: fit, fit, (have) fitted

American usage: fit, fit, (have) fit

Other verbs that differ in this way are bet, get, and quit.

Americans say bet-bet-bet, get-got-gotten and quit-quit-quit.

British speakers say get-got-got and quit-quitted-quitted. They take their choice with bet and say either bet-bet-bet or bet-betted-betted.

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4 Responses to “Principal Parts of the Verb TO FIT”

  • Sarah Hill

    It seems to me that the forms depend on the meaning of “fit.”

    The words fit the subject. Or the pants fit him.
    The old words fit the subject years ago. The pants alway fit him when he was younger.
    The words have always fit. The pants have always fit.

    However:

    Watch while I fit the cover to the couch. I fitted the cover to the couch yesterday. I have often fitted covers like that to couches.

    Please don’t attack too vehemently. That’s just what sounds right to me.

  • paul smith

    Your choice of the sentence:
    “the new rug was a perfect fit in the apartment”
    in order to discuss the verb “fit” is incorrect.
    In the example you give, “FIT” is a noun.
    Your subsequent sentences do show verbs.

  • diane

    Not sure if this is the place to put this comment, but what happened to the punctuation?

  • Peter

    British usage: fit, fit, (have) fitted

    Make that fit, fitted, (have) fitted.

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