sewn\sewed

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Egoexpress, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Egoexpress

    Egoexpress Senior Member

    Hungary, Hungarian
    Hello there,

    I'm wondering whether you'd be more likely to use sewn or sewed as the past participle of sew in the following sentence.

    George, the lazy soldier, should have sewn\sewed on his button.

    and I'm not really sure about the proper pronunciation of them either. Would you help me with that as well, please.

    Thank you!
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Either form is correct. Some English verbs have more than one accepted conjugation, and "sew" is one of these verbs. I'd use "sewn" myself. If you know how to pronounce "throw" "grow" etc., then just pronounce "sew" that way with an "s" in front of the vowel instead of "thr" or "gr".
     
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    George sewed on his button.
    George has sewn on his button.
    George should have sewn on his button.

    I think that's what I would say.

    I say them exactly like sew (which sounds like so) with an added -n or -d.
     
  4. Var18 Junior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    English - America
    As for the pronunciation (I imagine BE is no different):

    Sew: s-oh (rhymes with Moe, flow, and show)
    Sewn: s-ohn (rhymes with phone, clone, shone)
    Sewed: s-oh + d (as in dog). Rhymes with owed, showed)
     
  5. Eigenfunction Senior Member

    England - English
    I think some people mix and match these forms. However, I regard correct usage as follows:
    Preterite: sewed. I sewed the button on.
    Perfect: sewn. I have sewn the button on.
    Confusion often arises from the fact that the preterite and perfect forms are identical for most regular english verbs. e.g I walked and I have walked.

    So to actually answer your question, I would use sewn in your sentence, but I'm sure others might argue otherwise.
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The OED and Fowler list both sewn and sewed as past participle without suggesting either as favourite.
    From the OED, sewed has a longer history of usage.
     
  7. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    While I also say "sewn", if "sewed" has a longer history, I wonder if the use of "sewn" is influenced by "sown", which is pronounced the same way. I don't think I have ever heard anyone use "sowed" as the past participle of the verb "sow".
     
  8. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Thanks for the information, Panjandrum. I would have guessed that "sewn" was older.
     
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Fowler makes no distinction between sewn and sewed as past participle of sew, but suggests that sown is the more usual form, rather than sowed.
     

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