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Aug 20, 2016

The English That Has Embarrassed So Many. Part 2

Today, I will be showing you some ungrammatical sentences people confidently make use of with the belief that these sentences are grammatical. It is even more appalling that these ungrammatical sentences are found in the works of some writers. If God can overlook in time of ignorance, who am I? Learning is a continuous process so I pray they stumble over this tutorial.

Some of these sentences are:
1. He HAS DRANK the water/ I HAVE DRANK the water.
2. The national anthem WAS SANG by the choir master.
3. I HAVE RANG the bell.
4. The battle HAS BEGAN/ The battle HAS just BEGAN.
5. He HAS RAN.
6. Let the song BE SANG.

Each of the sentences above is ungrammatical and the capitalized words are the cause of its ungrammaticality.

I will rather give you a simple remedy to this menace than taking you through many explanations that will confuse you.

First, you should know that 'have, has, was, is, be' are all auxiliary/helping verbs although they can also function as lexical verbs. They precede lexical verbs in a sentence. For example:
                 He is risen.
                 She has come.
                 I have taken the book.
                 Let the book be taken from him.

In the sentences above, you can see all the auxiliary verbs preceding the lexical verbs (risen, come, taken.)

Second, in any sentence you see a lexical verb (except an -ing lexical verb, that is, the continuous tense of the lexical verb) coming after any of the aforementioned auxiliary verbs, that lexical verb should be in its past participle.
Examples:  He is risen.
                   She has come.
                   I have taken the book.

In the sentences above, the lexical verbs are in their past participle form because of the auxiliaries preceding them. To further buttress this point, let's see the various tense forms of these lexical verbs.

Present tense.         Past tense.          Past participle
     Rise.                       Rose.                    Risen.
     Come.                      Came.                   Come.
     Take.                       Took.                    Taken.

Finally, if for any reason you use the past tense of the lexical verb coming after any of these auxiliaries (has, have, was, be, is), you have rendered the sentence ungrammatical. For example, if you say, 'he is rose' instead of saying, 'he is risen," you have made an ungrammatical sentence.

If you feel saying either 'he is rose' or 'she has came' is ungrammatical, why then do we say, 'The song was sang?'

Both 'He is rose' and 'She has came' are wrong because the lexical verbs ('rose' and 'came') that are after the auxiliaries ('is' and 'has') respectively, are in their past tense form. Therefore, 'The song was sang' is considered ungrammatical because the lexical verb (sang) which comes immediately after the auxiliary (was) is also in its past tense form. Smiles. English is fun you know.

Having said that, let's now correct our sentences of study:
1. He has drank the water/ I have drank the water.
The right thing to say is------- He has drunk the water/ I have drunk the water.

2. The national anthem was sang by the choir master. (Wrong)
The national anthem was sung by the choir master. (Correct)

3. I have rang the bell. (Wrong)
    I have rung the bell. (Correct)

4. The battle has just began. (Wrong)
    The battle has just begun. (Correct)

5. He has ran. (Wrong)
    He has run. (Correct)

6.Let the song be sang. (Wrong)
   Let the song be sung. (Correct)

In sum, a lexical verb (except its continuous form) following any of the aforementioned auxiliary verbs should be in its past participle and not in its past tense. Anything outside this is ungrammatical.