Dived or Dove – Which One is the Correct Past Tense?

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The English language is claimed to be one of many hardest to study. Certainly, its tough grammar guidelines typically result in confusion, errors and the emergence of the Grammar Police. Within the diving group, one of many largest debates is whether or not dived or dove is the right previous tense.

So, let’s settle issues as soon as and for all: each variations are right. The one you select is actually right down to geography and dialect.


Scuba divers at the surface who are part of a diverse community where dived or dove are both acceptable uses of English

When to Use Dived or Dove

Each of those phrases are past tense conjugations of the verb to dive. That simply means they're a modified model of the phrase dive that tells individuals the exercise occurred up to now.

Dove is rather more widespread in American English; a 2008 survey by American Heritage Dictionary discovered that 92% of individuals accepted dove, in comparison with 72% for dived. You’ll discover dove in lots of American English works, from literary classics like Moby Dick and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to trendy information sources reminiscent of USA Today.

Then again, British English strongly favours dived, a reality backed up by Google’s Ngram Viewer and linguistics research which discovered dove is simply used 1% of the time. Numerous acclaimed British writers use dived, from J. K. Rowling and Charles Dickens to BBC journalists. Elsewhere, an unscientific experiment discovered 90% of UK tweets used dived, not dove.

Nevertheless, this American vs. British English division is just a rule of thumb. Dictionaries on each side of the pond settle for each dived or dove, and a few US writing style guides choose dived as the normal type. In abstract, each are grammatically right. However to keep away from unusual appears, it may be useful to adapt your selection of dived vs. dove to the place you’ll be utilizing it.

In the event you’re utilizing dove, take notice:

  • Get the pronunciation proper. It ought to rhyme with cove/range/drove (not love/glove, which might imply you’re speaking a few bird or a beauty brand).
  • Don’t use it to conjugate different ‘dive’ phrases. It’s sky-dived not sky-dove, and nosedived not nosedove!

Two scuba divers underwater, enjoying an activity which raises an important question: is it correct to say dived or dove?

Which Got here First: Dived or Dove?

The verb dive originated within the 13th Century from the Previous English dufan (to dive, duck, sink) and dyfan (dip, submerge). As a weak verb, the right previous tense ought to be dived, and that was certainly the case till 1855 when (based on the Oxford English Dictionary) dove first appeared, in American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha.

Dialectologist Harold Allen recommended that dove first gained reputation within the northern USA the place it featured in nationwide textbooks. It later migrated to southern areas after schoolchildren picked up the language from stated textbooks. The remaining, as they are saying, is historical past!


Why Did Dove Grow to be Widespread?

Over time, because the English language evolves and is simplified, irregular verbs sometimes turn into common ones. For instance, helped was holp, and stepped was cease. So, provided that altering dived (common) into dove (irregular) is considerably towards the norm, why did it occur?

Firstly, elevated use of comparable drive/drove is widely suggested to have influenced the change. This is sensible given the rise within the reputation of automobiles in America across the similar time. Secondly, individuals like order, logic and patterns (particularly in terms of grammar). So, matching dive/dove with the rhyming drive/drove probably made it extra intuitive to study and keep in mind — and so it caught.


Two scuba divers entering the water; in the English language you can either say they dived into or dove into the water

Dived Nonetheless Has a Place in Both Case

Whereas the connection between dive and drive feels logical, there’s a slight hiccup with regards to the previous participle:

Base verbEasy previous tensePrevious participle
DriveDroveHave pushed
DiveDove (or dived)Have… diven?!

So, keep in mind this: whether or not you favor I dove or I dived, all the time use dived with present perfect or past perfect tenses (I've dived or I had dived).


An octopus on a reef, and the subject of debate about whether octopuses, octopi or octopodes is the correct pluralisation

Octopuses, Fishes and Faculties – Extra Diving Grammar

Whereas we’re right here, let’s take a second to clear up another widespread misunderstandings.

One Octopus, Two Octo…?

One other controversial matter is the right pluralisation of octopus, with three variations typically used:

  1. Octopi: based mostly on the Latin conference of including ‘i’ on the finish (as in cacti or stimuli). That’s nice, besides octopus doesn’t truly come from Latin, making this etymologically incorrect.
  2. Octopodes: octopus originates from Greek — octo (eight) and pous (foot) — so that you may be forgiven for utilizing the greek pluralisation (-odes). In actuality, it's not often used.
  3. Octopuses: when a noun enters the English language, it’s often pluralised in its English type (by including -es) fairly than by its Latin or Greek roots. That makes octopuses the right plural, and the one mostly utilized in scientific and academic writing, news, and literature.

Several different species of fishes swimming together in the shallow waters around a tropical island beach

Fish or Fishes?

  • Fish = one fish, or multiple fish of the identical species.
  • Fishes = multiple fish of various species.

A group of fish swimming with synchronised movement, meaning they should be called a school of fish, rather than a shoal

Shoal or Faculty?

  • Shoal = a gaggle of fish swimming loosely collectively, both the identical or totally different species.
  • Faculty = a gaggle of the identical species of fish swimming with synchronised actions.

So, there you've it. Subsequent time you are feeling like cringing on the sound of dived or dove, octopuses or fishes, simply keep in mind it’s not about who’s proper or improper, however as an alternative the fantastic variety of the English language!

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