Verb Review #1 Run and Drink
Native English speakers frequently make mistakes with the irregular verbs run and drink, even in contexts that call for standard usage:
Woman arrested on manslaughter charge; man was ran over by car he was fixing. – Albany Democrat-Herald
The pair are believed to have ran up an estimated £3,000 credit card bill after they sneaked out of school last Monday…–Daily MailOnline
Court documents state that Angela Haas called the emergency room after learning what the child drank, and she told staff that a friend had drank orange juice with methamphetamine in it. –GreatFallsTribune (Montana)
Poor motor activity and head movement can occur in infants where mothers have drank high levels of alcohol during the last few days of pregnancy (Dominguez, Lopez and Molina, 1998) –Paper published by Women’s Health Council
The principal parts of the verb run are: run, ran, (have) run. As illustrated by the above examples, the error occurs when the simple past (ran) is substituted for the past participle (run). The correct form to use with a helping verb is run:
A man was run over by a car.
They are believed to have run up an estimated £3,000 credit card bill.
The principal parts of the verb drink are: drink, drank, (have) drunk. As illustrated by the above examples, the error occurs when the simple past (drank) is substituted for the past participle (drunk). The correct form to use with a helping verb is drunk:
A friend had drunk orange juice.
Poor motor activity can occur in infants whose mothers have drunk high levels of alcohol.
It is possible that these errors with run and drink may become so widespread as to gain standard status. Indeed, the online dictionary Dictionary.com accompanies the entry for drink with this observation:
drank is widely used as a past participle in speech by educated persons and must be considered an alternate standard form.
“Must be?” Call me “elitist,” but I think that an “educated person” would know better than to write “have drank” in a context that calls for standard English.
The Chicago Manual of Style is not so accommodating:
drink (verb): Correctly conjugated drink–drank–drunk. Example: “They had not drunk any fruit juice that day.”
I suspect that some speakers deliberately avoid the use of the word drunk because of a strong aversion to the state of drunkenness; they feel that drunk isn’t a “nice” word.
I have no theory as to why incorrect “have ran” should be preferred to correct “have run.”
Want to improve your English in 5 minutes a day? Click here to subscribe and start receiving our writing tips and exercises via email every day.
Recommended Articles for You
Subscribe to Receive our Articles and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!