Is it Drug or Dragged? The Naughty Grammarian Explains
Dragged or Drug
A Momentary Pause.
Miss Grammers will momentarily instruct on the misuse of the past tense. She will specifically discuss drug vs. dragged, snuck vs. sneaked, and stood vs. stayed.
First, Miss Grammers must address the use of "momentarily." Did you notice this word in the first sentence above?
"Miss Grammers will momentarily instruct on the misuse of the past tense."
Miss Grammers deliberately used the word incorrectly to see if you were paying attention. “Momentarily” does not mean “in a moment” as in the sense of “soon.” It means “lasting a moment” in the sense of “being of brief duration.”
Miss Grammers does not intend to quickly gloss over the issues in this lesson or to disappear in a puff of smoke in an instant. Miss Grammers meant that she would get to the lesson in a moment, that is to say, after a brief interval of time.The first sentence will now be rewritten.
“In a moment, Miss Grammers will instruct on the misuse of the past tense.”
“Momentarily” is very frequently misused to mean “soon,” so much so that it may be acceptable to some just because it is so widely used. Miss Grammers is not one of those people. It grates on Miss Grammers ears and puts her quite out of sorts. Please do not do it.
Dragged, Not Drug
Dragged and Drug
Drag is the present tense of the verb which means ”to apply force or effort to pull an object slowly along.” “Dragged” is the past tense of “drag.” "Drug" is NOT the past tense of "drag." Never!
For example, these sentences are correct.
“After a wild night of love-making, Melanie dragged herself from bed the next morning.”
"The wild lovemaking ensued after Melanie dragged the words she longed to hear from Doug’s mouth." (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)
If Melanie had ”drug herself from bed” or if she had “drug the words from Doug’s mouth,” Miss Grammers would wonder if a hypodermic needle had been involved. This is an unpleasant thought and Miss Grammers does not wish to dwell on it.
You can see the full conjugation of "drag" here. There is no tense where “drug” is correct. Conjugation of Drag
Sneaked, Not Snuck
Jennifer Garner and Conan O'Brien
Sneaked and Snuck
"Sneaked" and "snuck" is less clear-cut than "dragged" and "drug."
“Sneaked” is the standard past tense form of “sneak, but “snuck” is also currently considered acceptable.
Miss Grammers is sorry to have to say that “snuck” has sneaked into common parlance. We are stuck with snuck.
"Melanie sneaked into Doug’s bed as his guests were leaving the party."
"Doug sneaked a peak at Melanie as she was dressing."
Miss Grammers prefers “sneaked.” With “sneaked" there is no chance of an exchange such as the one that occurred on the Conan O’Brien show when Jennifer Garner was a guest.
It was rude of Miss Garner to correct Mr. O’Brien, on his own show no less, but Miss Grammers will leave Miss Manners to deal with that.
You will find the complete conjugation of "sneak" here. Conjugation of Sneak
You will note that snuck is listed, but it is listed second, meaning it is acceptable, but not the preferred way to express the past tense of sneak.
Stayed, Not Stood
Stayed, Stood, and Staid
The past tense of the verb “stay” which means "to remain" or to "spend time in a place" is “stayed.”
The word “staid” might have been correct a century ago, but it is now considered archaic. It’s only meaning today is "stodgy or dull in character." (Miss Grammers does not want you to be thought of as archaic, or stodgy, for that matter.)
There is absolutely no excuse for using "stood" instead of "stayed." Stood is the past tense of "stand." There is no ambiguity about this as there is with sneaked and snuck.
One should say:
"Melanie and Doug stayed at the hotel the entire night."
One should NOT say:
"Melanie and Doug stood at the hotel the entire night."
Were someone to say the latter, Miss Grammers might inquire why the hotel did not have any beds forcing the guests of this establishment to stand the entire night. Were Melanie and Doug tired after standing for an entire night? Did Melanie and Doug have to stand guard because some one could have sneaked in and dragged them away?
You will find the complete conjugation of "stay" here: Conjugation of Stay
Take and Took
Take and Took
Perhaps the confusion with "drag," "sneak." and "stay" arises from ”take” which becomes "took" in the past tense. "Take" is an irregular verb, which means it does not follow the normal rules of conjugation. The past tense of "take" is not “taked,” but “took.”
It appears that some people try to employ the same irregularity to other verbs.
You will find the complete conjugation of "take" here: Conjugation of Take
Take this quiz to see how well you learned the lesson.
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Who is Miss Grammers?
Miss Grammers can sometimes be staid, but under that austere exterior beats a heart which yearns for frivolity. Consequently, she uses a bit humor and naughtiness to spice up the grammar lesson. It is more fun for the instructee as well as for the instructor.
“Instructee” is a “neologism” which means a newly-coined word or a made-up word. You may not find instructee in the dictionary, but its meaning is obvious, is it not?
Miss Grammers is just having a bit of fun. You would not deny Miss Grammers a bit of fun would you? Afterall, when one has set oneself up as the “Grammar Enforcer,” one must take one's fun where one can find it..
Take this poll just for fun.
Which of these statements best describes you?
© 2014 Catherine Giordano