have drunk / have drank: using past participle of irregular verbs?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Biancas, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Biancas New Member

    German
    Hello to everyone!

    I just had the following situation. I was speaking to a native speaker and said:

    I have never drunk coffee before.

    He laughed and said it the correct sentence would be:

    I have never drank coffee before.


    When looking at these two sentences, in which situation would I use the one ore the other?

    Thank you for your help!
    Bianca S.
     
  2. bluegiraffe

    bluegiraffe Senior Member

    Nottingham, England
    English - England
    The person you were speaking to is wrong.

    Drink - drank - drunk
    Drink is the present - I like to drink coffee.
    Drank is the simple past - I drank coffee yesterday.
    Drunk is the past participle, used for the present perfect and past perfect - I have never drunk coffee, I had never drunk coffee.

    They're wrong! Laugh at them back.
     
  3. bluegiraffe

    bluegiraffe Senior Member

    Nottingham, England
    English - England
    Sorry, I've just realised a comparative example would be useful.

    Eat - ate - eaten
    I eat cheese all day
    I ate cheese yesterday
    I have never eaten cheese.
     
  4. Wishfull Senior Member

    jp
    Hi.
    As an non-native English speaker, I would say the first sentence is correct.
    The second sentence is wrong.
    The speaker confused "I never drank coffee before" and "I've never drunk coffee before."
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hello Biancas - welcome to WordReference :)

    It seems that you have come across one of the very many native speakers whose English is non-standard. I'm surprised, though, that he didn't realise that you were correct.
     
  6. Biancas New Member

    German
    Ah, well that is a nice change :) Thank you all for your help! Hmmm, I dont think I will tell him though, he is a friend and I am not sure how it would be if I (as a non-native) tell him he was wrong. But its good to know :)
    Thanks!
    B
     
  7. gabriel864

    gabriel864 Senior Member

    Georgia, USA
    Spanish-Venezuela
    I know this thread is kind of old, but it caught my attention. As I just moved to the States I was having the same trouble because apparently not everyone uses correct grammar when speaking. I came across the same problem and even though the correct form is "I have drunk", I was told that for informal speech between friends and family people tend to say "I have drank" they told me DRUNK is used more when talking about someone intoxicated, that's why it sounds weird to them to say Drunk in that sense, I was even told the same thing by my wife who happens to be a native English Speaker. Anyway I noticed people from England, Ireland and Germany gave us some feedback, but I would like some US English speakers to chime in and give us their opinion, too. Thanks
     
  8. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Boston
    English--American
    I drank coffee yesterday. It was the first time: I had never drunk coffee before that.
     
  9. Fabulist Senior Member

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    The largest category of strong verbs (there's nothing "irregular" about most of them) in English follows the i-a-u pattern for the interval vowel: sing-sang-sung, stink-stank-stunk, etc. In a few cases, the a-form or the u-form has driven out the other, at least in the speech of some dialects. Although I learned shrink-shrank-shrunk, there are people who apparently regularly use the pattern shrink-shrunk-shrunk, as in the movie title "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." My American Heritage Dictionary lists both "shrank" and "shrunk" as the preterite or simple past. A verb in which the u-form has definitely driven out the a-form is slink. I slink, I slunk, I have slunk; there is no "slank" in my dictionary.

    It's possible that the speaker referred to in the original post just had never learned the most common pattern; but perhaps in his "speech community," either drink, specifically, or some of the i-a-u verbs are now inflected in an i-a-a pattern. The same American Heritage Dictionary shows only the i-a-u pattern for drink. I personally would have the same opinion of "have drank" as I would of "have went" or "have swimmed."

    There was, of course, no valid reason for the second person in the original incident to laugh at or deride Biancas for using the standard form found in dictionaries.
     
  10. cubaMania Senior Member

    I always use "drunk" for the past participle of "drink". I seldom hear "have/had drank". I consider it dialect or nonstandard.
     
  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Senior Member

    Queensland, Aust
    BrE->AuE
    The past participle "drank" is an old alternative to "drunk". According to the OED:
    from 17th to 19th cents. drank was intruded from the past tense into the past participle, probably to avoid the inebriate associations of drunk

    Fowler 1926:
    drink has past tense drank, p.p. drunk; the reverse uses (they drunk, have drank) were formerly not unusual, but are now blunders or conspicuous archaisms.

    It is possible that the older alternative persisted in pockets of the US, and is now enjoying a modern revival.
     
  12. gabriel864

    gabriel864 Senior Member

    Georgia, USA
    Spanish-Venezuela
    I read this in a Dictionary:

    Usage note
    As with many verbs of the pattern sing, sang, sung and ring, rang, rung, there is some confusion about the forms for the past tense and past participle of drink. The historical reason for this confusion is that originally verbs of this class in Old English had a past-tense singular form in a but a past-tense plural form in u. Generally the form in a has leveled out to become the standard past-tense form: We drank our coffee. However, the past-tense form in u, though considered nonstandard, occurs often in speech: We drunk our coffee.
    The standard and most frequent form of the past participle of drink in both speech and writing is drunk : Who has drunk all the milk? However, perhaps because of the association of drunk with intoxication, drank is widely used as a past participle in speech by educated persons and must be considered an alternate standard form: The tourists had drank their fill of the scenery.
     
  13. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I have noticed this aversion to "drunk" as the past participle. I say "have drunk", but I receive a few snickers and comments from time to time when I do. (I have to say, I get the same reaction from "have swum". Maybe the "u" versions will disappear over time.)
     
  14. mplsray Senior Member

    Another viewpoint, from the end of the article "drink" in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (1995):

     
  15. Luchadorconan Senior Member

    Kansas
    English - United States
    I'm from the Midwest and though I know drunk is the past participle, I can't bring myself to use it. It just sounds wrong. The truth is that those who speak the language dictate usage, not style guides or language academies. Still, your friend is a meathead for laughing at you.
     
  16. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I'm from England and I would not be able to bring myself to say "I have drank" because it sounds completely wrong!
     
  17. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    We recently had a linked discussion here. As I noted over there, ''have swam/ran/drank'' etc. seems to be much more popular in everyday language from those I hear around me, despite their being erroneous. From reading the comments here, it seems that Irish English is following AE more than BE on this.
     
  18. Luchadorconan Senior Member

    Kansas
    English - United States
    That's nice to know, but I trust you're aware that there are many differences between American and British English and that neither variety is inherently superior to the other.
     
  19. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hello Luchadorconan

    I don't think anyone in this thread is suggesting that BrE is superior to AmE or vice versa.

    What people are suggesting is that "I have drank" is non-standard. But that doesn't mean it isn't common: it clearly is.
     
  20. Luchadorconan Senior Member

    Kansas
    English - United States
    I respectfully disagree. I'm not referring to what "people" are suggesting, and I understand, as my original post indicates, the matter at hand. I replied to a specific post that stated "I'm from England, and it sounds completely wrong!"
     
  21. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Predictably, I agree with the BE speakers who say "I have drank" is non-standard in BE. It sounds uneducated, and would be marked incorrect in a test, and wouldn't look good in a job application. It's probably a sad reflection of the fact that in many schools over here, grammar hasn't been taught in any great depth for many years, and that's partly why we have such problems learning - and especially teaching - foreign languages.
     
  22. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    You can disagree as much as you like. The post you were replying to gave the poster's perspective. I'm also from England, and "I have drank" sounds non-standard to me too. But I'm also not saying anything about the relative merits of AmE and BrE:).
     
  23. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England

    Hi Luchadorconan,

    We often say where we come from to stress the variety of English that we speak. I hope nobody would understand that when I say I come from Manchester that I think this gives me a monopolistic handle on linguistic truth.

    For instance, in Scotland past participles are often different from the standard BE ones. There are many verbs for which the dialect uneducated GlasgowE uses the preterite to form the past participle: I have went, I have saw, etc. That sounds very strange to the standard BE ear, but it's the mistake which we are discussing.

     
  24. Luchadorconan Senior Member

    Kansas
    English - United States
    Since you've given me permission to disagree as much as I like ;)... it's not the fact that the 'poster' asserted that he viewed it as non-standard --I acknowledged in my original post that have drank isn't technically correct.

    I simply stated that neither variety of English was better than the other. I don't know why such a statement would prompt such a staunch defense. There's an interesting subtext here. Maybe we could agree on that!
     
  25. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I think the only subtext is the one you read into the original remark. :) There is no more subtext than there was in your remark that you are from the Midwest. It's simply an additional piece of information.
     
  26. Luchadorconan Senior Member

    Kansas
    English - United States
    I certainly don't think anyone would come to the conclusion that you thought you were an authority based on where you come from. But I might wonder if they said, "I'm from England, and it sounds completely wrong!"
     
  27. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Please review the thread and apply some sense of humour.
    Fair enough. A simple statement of opinion.
    Also fair enough. Another simple statement of opinion that somewhat tongue-in-cheek mirrors the first statement.

    Nobody has claimed ultimate authority based on anything at all.
     
  28. JuanEscritor

    JuanEscritor Senior Member

    Minnesota
    English - AE
    The dictionaries will tell you it's have drunk, and I'll use this form only when the setting requires I follow standard dictionary convention.

    In all other instances, I use have drank.

    Drunk, is what you call a person with whiskey in their belly.

    Of course, I'd also never call someone out for using have drunk, for the reasons that calling people out for how they talk is rude and because I actually comprehend the standard variety of my language.

    Midwest, born and raised.

    JE
     
  29. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Another Midwesterner has separated drunk as exclusively for the intoxicated usage. Are there any other i-a-u verbs that are used as "have -a- form" or is the intoxication the driver for the above, I wonder?
     
  30. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I've read the thread and it seems obvious to me that in large parts of the English-speaking world the past participle is now 'drank' and not 'drunk'- in speech. What I'd be interested to know is whether the "I have drank" version is acceptable in schools and in fairly formal writing.? I mean, if someone cannot bring himself to use the "drunk" form in speech, would he use it in teaching or in a newspaper article ?
     
  31. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    No, I don't believe so, verlisarius; it is, after all, an error.
     
  32. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I'm a little unsure about which question this is answering - the red one or the blue one?
     
  33. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    The red one, panj.
     
  34. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    Thanks for your answer Pedro, but I was hoping for a reply from someone who "can't bring themselves to say 'drunk'" in this way. I mean are there perhaps teachers nowadays who teach "I have drank" as a possible alternative. If, as some posts have said, "drunk" is nowadays associated with being inebriated, would a teacher be laughed out of the classroom for teaching "I have drunk"? Would children snigger as they might at "he was feeling gay" in an older text?
     
  35. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Juan wrote :
    I think the "have drank" users pick it up from their surroundings rather than it being actively taught to them in school. As in many countries, I suspect the decrease in English instruction (quality or quantity) means that they are not taught that "have drank" is not the "dictionary" version. "Ain't" might be similar in being picked up the same way but "not dictionary" but somewhat more likely to be to be corrected?
     
  36. cubaMania Senior Member

    I am skeptical of the "drunk means inebriated" explanation. It does not ring true. That sounds more like an after-the-fact attempt at justification of a usage which, because of where you live, just sounds right to you.
    Take a look at this Google NGram seeming to show (for whatever it's worth) that "had drank" predominated until around 1820 when it was overtaken then surpassed by "had drunk".
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...start=1700&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    The USA is a very large country, so old forms sometimes die out in British English, while still managing to survive in relatively isolated regions of the U.S. This, not school-book learning, seems a more likely explanation to me. If your (and your neighbor's) parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great, great, great, great....grandparents all said "had drank", it is correct in your region. But if you move out of your region and want to write academic papers, you probably will need to switch to the standard American English "had drunk".

    Based upon people I have known, I would not be surprised to hear the "have/had drank" version from anyone from rural Indiana, for instance. I can't say whether teachers and newspapers in those regions follow suit.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  37. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Interesting post, cubaMania - here's what the OED says about the past participle (my red highlighting):
     
  38. mplsray Senior Member

    Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says that drank as a past participle "seems to have been used commonly from the 17th century at least until Jane Austin's time" and that "Hall 1917 cites authors as recent as Robert Louis Stevenson for the form and further informs us that it had in his own time considerable vogue in polite spoken English." Hall is John Lesslie Hall, and the reference is to his English Usage, which discusses drank on page 79 and which is available via Google Books. Hall himself quoted the "New English Dictionary," which is the older name for the Oxford English Dictionary. A look at the OED's entry for the verb drink yields this:

    This is a change from Hall's quote from the New English Dictionary, which says flat out that drank was used to avoid the associations with drunk, not tempering it with the word "probably."
     
  39. TheKingOfSpain Senior Member

    English - Canada
    I don't think any Canadian English speakers have chimed in yet? Either way, I'm sure you'll find many Canadians saying "I have drank" like the Americans, but to my ear swum/drunk sound correct in those situations. But maybe that's just me.
     
  40. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    For what it's worth Shakespeare seems to have conjugated the verb drink, drunk (or occasionally drank), drunk.

    I could find plenty of uses of drunk as the past participle, but several of it as the simple past, like:

    I am sure thy father drunk wine
    (All's well that ends well)

    Ere the ninth hour, I drunk him to his bed
    (Antony and Cleopatra)

    There are only two uses of drank in all Shakespeare and in both cases it is a simple past:

    I ne'er drank sack in my life (Taming of the Shrew).

    I never drank with him in all my life (Titus Andronicus).
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  41. cubaMania Senior Member

    Interesting. Google Ngram viewer doesn't have anything significant that far back. It seems their Optical Character Recognition technology has difficulty deciphering the elaborate fonts. We are left with the mystery of what happened between the 16th/17th and the 18th centuries.

    I think I'm in synch with that lonely guy whom I imagine fighting to at least insert "probably" in front of the "inebriated" explanation. :D Here are the similar (1700-2008) Google Ngrams for "had swam"/"had swum" and "had rode"/"had ridden". "Had swam" predominates early on, then succumbs to "had swum" around 1860. "Had rode" predominates, then is overtaken around 1820 by "had ridden". The similarity in patterns hints at the possibility that the inebriation connection is not the explanation.

    The relatively new Google Ngram viewer is clearly not suitable for serious academic research, and is of unproven reliability at this point, so liberally apply grains of salt. Still interesting, though.

    swim/swam/swum
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...start=1700&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    ride/rode/ridden
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...start=1700&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3
     
  42. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with you about Google Ngram viewer, cubaMania: it's illustrative rather than conclusive (you have to look at the individual items it highlights....) But I'm still interested in the question raised by post 30: do those for whom "I have drank" is the norm use this in formal writing as well as in speech?
     
  43. JuanEscritor

    JuanEscritor Senior Member

    Minnesota
    English - AE
    I don't.

    As to the issue of whether or not 'drunk' is avoided because of its ties to inebriation, I don't think mentioning all of the words that slowly shifted from the 'a'-form to the 'u'-form (or 'rode' to 'ridden') will help in making the case that intoxicated connotations played no role in allowing modern-day have drunk for the simple fact that if we have a pattern of 'u'-forms replacing 'a'-forms in the past participles, we must still address the question of why this takeover didn't occur with the word 'drunk' in so many dialects.

    JE
     
  44. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Your point seems to be the wrong way round, JE:confused:. Looking at the OED (post 37), the original version of the past participle seems to have -o-/-u-, and it's the -a- version which was a newcomer in the 16th - 18th centuries.

    That said, I'm still interested in the fact that you, as a "drank" user, wouldn't use it in formal writing:).
     
  45. JuanEscritor

    JuanEscritor Senior Member

    Minnesota
    English - AE
    Perhaps I've misunderstood the evidence being presented. I will go back and review it again.

    Sure. I have a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics (highly pointless, by the way); but I understand the difference between standard and non-standard and when required will always use the standard variety of my national dialect.

    But I think this is a pretty common trend: the more educated the person, the more aware they will be of standard usage patterns and when to employ them.

    Drink isn't the only verb I use differently in non-standard vs. standard situations. Plead and drag come to mind as two others for which I use alternative conjugations for different levels of formality.

    JE
     
  46. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    That's really interesting, JE. I won't ask you what you use informally as the past participles of plead and drag - though I can guess!:) - since that would be off-topic in this thread.

    I can't, myself, think of any verbs which I conjugate differently in formal and informal contexts (unless I'm deliberately using non-standard forms for eg humorous purposes).
     
  47. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    I've drank ...? Who'd have thunk it?
     
  48. Luchadorconan Senior Member

    Kansas
    English - United States
    I would say that it isn't taught or accepted in formal writiting, but I'd venture to say that it's on its way to becoming acceptable in written form. I teach eighth graders, and have drunk sounds very strange to their ears. I wouldn't say they snicker, but it does bring about laughter.
     
  49. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    Thanks Lucha for the interesting information. At first I thought the I have drank expression was very odd, as I'd never heard it; but then it struck me that of course when you say in the third person "he's drunk a quart of beer" it sounds and looks exactly the same as "he's drunk (he is drunk rather than he has drunk)". It still sounds odd to me to say "I have drank", but I can understand how people might not want to say "he's drunk..." or "he's drunk enough", which is ambiguous - -
     
  50. Luchadorconan Senior Member

    Kansas
    English - United States
    You're welcome! I forgot to quote your question, so I'm glad you saw it.
     

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