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Grammar tip: “went” vs. “gone”

Posted by Maria Murnane | February 21, 2017

Lately I’ve heard so many people confuse “went” with “gone” that I decided it was worth a blog post on the topic. “Went” and “gone” are both variations of the verb “to go” but are used in different tenses. Here’s an explanation of the difference:

WENT is the simple past tense of TO GO:

  • Yesterday I went sailing for the first time
  • Yesterday you went sailing for the first time
  • Yesterday he/she went sailing for the first time
  • Yesterday we went sailing for the first time
  • Yesterday they went sailing for the first time

GONE is used in the present perfect and past perfect tenses of TO GO:

Present perfect:

In the past month I have gone sailing twice

  • In the past month you have gone sailing twice
  • In the past month he/she has gone sailing twice
  • In the past month we have gone sailing twice
  • In the past month they have gone sailing twice

Past perfect (also known as pluperfect):

  • Before today I had gone sailing only once
  • Before today you had gone sailing only once
  • Before today he/she had gone sailing only once
  • Before today we had gone sailing only once
  • Before today they had gone sailing only once

I hear the mistake most often when people say “have went” when they should say “have gone.” For example:

  • I should have went sailing instead of coming here (INCORRECT)
  • I should have gone sailing instead of coming here (CORRECT)
  • We could have went sailing instead of coming here (INCORRECT)
  • We could have gone sailing instead of coming here (CORRECT)

A clever trick for remembering the difference is to say the following out loud: “Correct answer, where have you gone?” Your ear probably knows that question is phrased correctly, so modeling it will tell you the answer.

-Maria

 

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2017 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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