After one of many NFL games I watched this year, the commentator offered a candid opinion on why a certain team had lost so many games throughout the season: He thought it was the quarterback's fault. In fact, he said something along the lines of this: "With a different quarterback, this team could have went far."
As soon as the word "went" left his mouth, my football brain left the room, and the grammar police took over.
The past tense of the verb "to go" is conjugated as follows:
However, the present perfect tense of the same verb is as follows:
The pluperfect (or past perfect) tense is as follows:
Could have gone, would have gone, and should have gone are all correct conjugations as well, as in could have gone far.
That famous commentator isn't the only public figure to commit this offense. Last night, I read a quote from a baseball player who thanked his fans "for supporting me through everything I've went through over the last couple of months." Yikes. Then, I heard a celebrity judge on a reality show open her comment on an aspiring singer's outlandish outfit with this grammatical gem: "If she would have came dressed..."
If more of these celebrities had paid attention in English class, I could have gone to sleep early last night instead of staying up to write this post!
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
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