bit OR bitten, hid Or hidden, beat OR beaten

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Ocham

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello,

I knew in another thread that native speakers tend to prefer "proven" to
"proved".
Is it a general trend that native speakers prefer -en form for a past
participle? I personally prefer -en endings simply because they sound clear.

For example: bit - bitten, proved - proven, hid - hidden, beat - beaten

Thank you
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I have not noticed any desire for -en endings. Moreover, "proved" is a common error.

    One does not choose one's endings after all. They come with the verb.
     

    nzfauna

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Usually the -en form is used for the perfect tenses, not the past tense.

    I have bitten through my lip before (present perfect)/ I had bitten (past perfect).
    I have proven this as fact.
    I have hidden in a closet before.
    I have beaten my wife in the past.

    Versus

    I bit my lip. (past tense)
    I proved it as fact.
    I hid in closet.
    I beat my wife.
     
    Last edited:

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    With the simple past tense you don't use a helping verb. With the other tense, you do.
    Example:
    The dog bit the child. (specific time in the past)
    The dog had bitten the child. (unspecified time in the past)
    She proved her point in her essay.
    She had proven her point in her essay.
    etc. etc.

    It depends on whether the time is specific or unspecified as to which I use.
     

    xxxelizz

    Member
    australia; english
    We do generally use these -en words, mostly when we are talking about something that had happened.
    For example,
    "He had hidden from his friend."
     

    Ocham

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I'm sorry I made a serious mistake. I should have said "past perfect" or "plupferfect".
    My dictionary says these verbs have 2 kinds of past perfect.

    present past past perfect [pluperfect]
    1 prove - proved -proved/proven
    2 bite - bit -bit/bitten
    3 hide - hid -hid/hidden
    4 beat - beat - beat/beaten

    I ask again if you prefer -en ending?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    For the verbs you mention, when we use the past participles as adjectives, we almost always use the -en forms. But in forming perfect tenses, we make a choice. In my opinion the -en forms are clearer (more easily understood), but they tend to slow things down. For this reason, the shorter-sounding forms sometimes help a sentence "flow", especially a complicated one.

    Of course, I am only speaking of the verbs you mention. Other types of verbs have very different usage.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Moreover, "proved" is a common error.
    I'm sorry, but says who? Do you have an authoritative source to back up your claim that it is an error? To my knowledge, both proved and proven are legitimate and acceptable past participle forms of the verb to prove.

    In response to the thread question, I would personally be more likely to use the -en forms, but I've proved this to you before sounds perfectly fine. I've hid the keys, on the other hand, sounds very strange.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It may be just me, but the three verbs in the title are clear and unambiguous in form - all three follow the same pattern.
    I bit, I have bitten. Adjective form, bitten.

    Prove is different because it has an -ed form.
    I prove, I have proved (sometimes proven). Adjective form - proven.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Besides serving as the Simple Past, the short forms bit, hid, and beat are more or less archaic or literary Past Participles:

    "The biter bit" is a common saying that means someone has suffered from his own bad actions, or actions that are similar, also expressed by he's had a taste of his own medicine, or he's hoist with his own petard.

    beat as a PP is contained in the nursery rhyme "Tom, Tom, the piper's son" (who stole a pig): "The pig was eat (sic) and Tom was beat, and Tom went crying down the street". Also, an exhausted Englishman will say "I'm beat", where an American will say "I'm bushed", and nobody will correct his grammar.

    hid is also used in poetry. Mirriam-Webster dates it (as a PP) in the 12th Century, but in fact it still occurs.

    As for proved, that was the only form of the PP that, as a Southerner, I knew until I was seventeen and saw a film about the infamous poisoner Madeleine Smith who was tried for murder in Scotland and acquitted with the verdict of "not proven" (/pro:vn/), a verdict that does not exist in English law. Besides being Scottish, the PP proven is standard American, but it is still not part of my own vocabulary. I note from the BBC that it has almost entirely encroached on proved as a PP in England (as have different than, and so many other Americanisms).
     
    Last edited:

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Also, an exhausted Englishman will say "I'm beat", where an American will say "I'm bushed", and nobody will correct his grammar.
    "I'm beat" is also used in American English. I would consider that a fixed expression: you can't say "I'm beaten."
     

    LaReinita

    Senior Member
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
    I agree that "I'm beat" is used in American English, in fact, I would say that "I'm beat" is much more common than "I'm bushed." I don't think I've ever really heard anyone say that in real life before.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    the verdict of "not proven" (/pro:vn/)
    What a coincidence ~ I had exactly the same thing, indeed it might even have been the same programme on the tv!
    Before then I'd used proved; after then I made a conscious decision to start using proven ~ not to 'correct a previous error', just because I like the sound of proven.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Besides being Scottish, the PP proven is standard American, but it is still not part of my own vocabulary. I note from the BBC that it has almost entirely encroached on proved as a PP in England (as have different than, and so many other Americanisms).
    I don't think it has, really. I'd say that "proved" is still the usual past participle in BrE, with "proven" being used primarily as an adjective before nouns.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    The BBC, which has been my main source of spoken English for many years, seems to have the, possibly unconscious, mission of adopting as many Americanisms (and weird English neologisms) as possible and may not be typical, as Loob says, of what is actually said in England.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I'm sorry I made a serious mistake. I should have said "past perfect" or "plupferfect".
    My dictionary says these verbs have 2 kinds of past perfect.

    present past past perfect [pluperfect]
    1 prove - proved -proved/proven
    2 bite - bit -bit/bitten
    3 hide - hid -hid/hidden
    4 beat - beat - beat/beaten

    I ask again if you prefer -en ending?
    In the case of "prove" it's true that there are two past participles which are used more or less interchangeably (note that as an adjective before a noun, we always use proven).

    The rest of the information given in your dictionary is, as far as I'm concerned, incorrect: bit, hid and beat are not past participles, they are only used for the simple past tense.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I would not switch beat and beaten in these two noun phrases:

    A smile that can't be beat
    A protein that can be beaten into a sort of meringue

    To me, beaten has a more literal, physical meaning, and beat as past participle is more like a synonym of vanquished. "I'm beat" may derive from the same idea.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I would not switch beat and beaten in these two noun phrases:

    A smile that can't be beat
    A protein that can be beaten into a sort of meringue

    To me, beaten has a more literal, physical meaning, and beat as past participle is more like a synonym of vanquished. "I'm beat" may derive from the same idea.
    Is beat as past participle considered "correct" in AE or is it colloquial? Personally I would replace "beat" with "beaten" in the first sentence.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    In BE which appears to coincide with AE here, A smile that can't be beat is, indeed, colloquial, but might be said by any educated person (even the President, himself!) without causing an eyebrow to be raised. However, in this instance beat could be replaced by the more grammatical beaten, without altering the sense.
    On the other hand whereas I'm beat means I am exhausted, tired out, I'm beaten implies defeat and surrender, whether or not the speaker is able to continue the struggle. And the latter never means I am being whipped or flogged unless something like regularly or every day is added.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "A smile that can't be beaten" would not be idiomatic in American English. Some expressions and turns of phrase are fixed, regardless of their grammar.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It's not a typical usage. It's understood of course, but it's not the normal way to put it.

    Maybe the editor of that article was a pedant. ;)
     

    Sandy Bob

    New Member
    Anglaise
    I'm sorry, but says who? Do you have an authoritative source to back up your claim that it is an error? To my knowledge, both proved and proven are legitimate and acceptable past participle forms of the verb to prove.

    In response to the thread question, I would personally be more likely to use the -en forms, but I've proved this to you before sounds perfectly fine. I've hid the keys, on the other hand, sounds very strange.
    I think you will find that in the US people tend to use proven as the past participle, whereas "proved" is more common in the UK (and Commonwealth). The adjective is "proven" for both, so we would all speak about a proven fact, but Brits would say "you have not proved your point", and Americans are just as likely to say "You haven't proven your point"
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Which is correct?

    I don't like to be bit? or I don't like to be bitten?
    Hi aardvarkinPS - welcome to English Only!

    In standard English, the correct version would be I don't like to be bitten.

    But I don't like to be bit would be correct in some non-standard varieties of English.
     
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