My (former) life as the crab

Musings about life after Crabby Office Lady

Grammar drives me crazy… March 16, 2012

But this in particular:

I hear people talk–on the radio, on TV, on the streets, even at work–who are (I’ve, in the recent past assumed–maybe correctly, maybe not) obviously not particularly educated,  and who don’t spend their time reading, much less writing or considering grammar (just conjecture, of course). This is the one that keeps throwing itself on my mercy

People say (in various contexts)

  • “What he must have WENT through…”

To me that sounds wrong. Just WRONG. I’m not a grammarian so I don’t know the rule for this, but to me, what sounds right is

  • “What he must have GONE through…”

Tyler ClementiI’m using this example because I just heard one of the lawyers on NPR–not sure he was  for the defense (Dharun Ravi who was found guilty of a hate crime, among other things) or the prosecution (for that sweet, gay, violin-playing, bridge-jumping-to his death Tyler Clementi) say “What he must’ve went though” and I thought to myself, “Hm. Self. THis guy is a LAWYER and you aren’t. Maybe it’s YOU who is sounding like an uneducated, McDonald’s-eatin’-3x-a-week-Jersey-Shore-fan. Oof. That’d be bad. I’d better check my resume.

Am I wrong?  Could it be? After all these years of trying to write correctly and working with great editors and copy editors? (Note that at this moment, my job entails NOT having real editors or even copy editors–RAMONA WE MISS YOU– just…well I can’t say or I’d get into trouble and I need this job, as dull and boring and mind/soul numbing as it is. Maybe another time when I’ve moved on (and boy, that time is coming–offers have started to pour, oddly enough; unfortunately they’re in Seattle, Austin, Singapore…). Another topic for another day (and maybe in another location–maybe another continent).

So, what say you, blog readers? I’m going to post my question to Grammar Girl and see what she has to say –if she hasn’t already addressed this. If she has, I’ll post it here. For the 5 of you. Haha.

– Annik (aka Queen Shannikwa, aka Crabby, aka Mommy, aka The Older Human Who Gives Us 4-Month-old-Rats Fatty Sunflower Seeds during the day).

C’mon: Talk to me. Anna? Fran? you’re two fo the smartest people I know. Ask Ryan Warner (whom we met Monday –he’s dreamy, gay, not gay). What’s  his take on “went” and “gone”

Okay, it’s the weekend, Bian has a  friend over and we’re all making pizza and watching Ponyo. So I’m gone for the weekend. Or…I went. Or I done gone and went. Or I done went and am gone. Huh. English is tricky. I do both Iyengar and Bikram Yoga so I’m pretty sure Sanskrit is trickier.

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4 Responses to “Grammar drives me crazy…”

  1. Quick correction: I wrote ‘present perfect’ at one point up there. Should be ‘past perfect’.

    • Annik Says:

      You didn’t really say which one was correct, but from what I ascertained on this site http://conjugation.com/verb/go%20through I was right “…what he must have GONE through.”

      If I wanted to use the word “went” I could have said “What he went through.” It’s past but it ain’t perfect.

      Is that right?

      Now let’s talk subjunctive: If I WERE to use subjunctive I wouldn’t say, “If I WAS to use the subjunctive…” (I only learned this when I studied French in Paris; isn’t that funny?)

      • Sorry, so I guess my response wasn’t clear. In plainer language: The answer is that you are correct. “What he must’ve gone through” is short for “What he must have gone through”- as I explained before, “have” is always paired with “gone” not “went”. Thus, “What he must’ve went through” is wrong.

  2. The word “have” is paired with the past participle form of the verb, which is “gone”. “Went” is used in simple past sentences, whereas one uses “gone” in a present perfect sentence, such as “what he must have gone through”. Simple past: “I went”. Past perfect: “I have gone”

    I hope that makes sense


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