April 21, 2021


This, from Michael Ackley’s article today:

English is a living language. It’s a fact linguistic conservatives must abide. We’ve learned to live with “standing on line” when we used to stand in line; we grind our teeth and bear with “off-ten” for “often” and have grudgingly accepted the secondary pronunciation of “applicable,” with the accent on the second syllable.

But must we endure “woken”?

Don’t get us wrong. “Woken” is a word, though archaic and found chiefly in British dialect. However, it is the past participle of the verb “wake,” not a stand-alone verb itself.

We all should cringe, therefore, when we hear the almost ubiquitous, “He woken up.”

We have encountered this abomination in otherwise sophisticated novels and in the movies; we have read it in newspapers; we have heard it during TV news broadcasts. (Of course, in the latter, illiteracy is more or less accepted – and expected.)

There are a number of graceful ways to describe the ascent from sleep to consciousness: “He woke;” “he waked;” “he wakened;” and the most lilting, “he awakened.”

Generally, we don’t suggest letter-writing campaigns, but perhaps you could save these paragraphs somewhere on your hard drive, and when you find the participle misused, copy them and send them to the offending parties. They need to be woken up.

(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge