Monday, October 10, 2005

Dived or dove, which is correct? From Dr. David Colvard

From the Guide to Grammar and Style by Jack Lynch. at Rutgers

Dive, Dived, Dove.

The traditional past-tense form of dive is dived.

Although dove is common in speech, it's probably safer to stick with dived in writing.

See also Sneak, Sneaked, Snuck. [Entry added 12 Jan. 2005.]

Also, the British only use "dived", but Canadians and Americans use "dived" and "dove".

And, verb conjugation is :

to dive I dive; you dive; he, she, it dives; we dive; you dive; they dive I dived/dove; you dived/dove; he, she, it dived/dove; we dived/dove; you dived/dove; they dived/dove dived/dove (Ex: They have dived too deep.)


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.


VERB: Inflected forms: dived or dove ( dv), dived, div·ing, dives

INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1a. To plunge, especially headfirst, into water. b. To execute a dive in athletic competition. c. To participate in the sport of competitive diving. 2a. To go toward the bottom of a body of water; submerge. b. To engage in the activity of scuba diving. c. To submerge under power. Used of a submarine. 3a. To fall head down through the air. b. To descend nose down at an acceleration usually exceeding that of free fall. Used of an airplane. c. To engage in the sport of skydiving. 4. To drop sharply and rapidly; plummet: Stock prices dove 100 points in a single day of trading. 5a. To rush headlong and vanish into: dive into a crowd. b. To plunge one's hand into. 6. To lunge: dove for the loose ball. 7. To plunge into an activity or enterprise with vigor and gusto.

TRANSITIVE VERB: To cause (an aircraft, for example) to dive.

NOUN: 1a. A plunge into water, especially done headfirst and in a way established for athletic competition. b. The act or an instance of submerging, as of a submarine or a skin diver. c. A nearly vertical descent at an accelerated speed through the air. d. A quick, pronounced drop. 2a. Slang A disreputable or run-down bar or nightclub. b. A run-down residence. 3. Sports a. A knockout feigned by prearrangement between prizefighters: The challenger took a dive. b. An exaggerated fall, especially by a hockey player, intended to draw a penalty against an opponent. 4a. A lunge or a headlong jump: made a dive to catch the falling teacup. b. Football An offensive play in which the carrier of the ball plunges into the opposing line in order to gain short yardage.

ETYMOLOGY: Middle English diven, from Old English dfan, to dip, and from dfan, to sink; see dheub- in Appendix I.

USAGE NOTE: Either dove or dived is acceptable as the past tense of dive. Usage preferences show regional distribution, although both forms are heard throughout the United States. According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, in the North, dove is more prevalent; in the South Midland, dived. Dived is actually the earlier form, and the emergence of dove may appear anomalous in light of the general tendencies of change in English verb forms. Old English had two classes of verbs: strong verbs, whose past tense was indicated by a change in their vowel (a process that survives in such present-day English verbs as drive/drove or fling/flung ); and weak verbs, whose past was formed with a suffix related to ?ed in Modern English (as in present-day English live/lived and move/moved ). Since the Old English period, many verbs have changed from the strong pattern to the weak one; for example, the past tense of step, formerly stop, became stepped. Over the years, in fact, the weak pattern has become so prevalent that we use the term regular to refer to verbs that form their past tense by suffixation of ?ed. However, there have occasionally been changes in the other direction: the past tense of wear, now wore, was once werede, and that of spit, now spat, was once spitede. The development of dove is an additional example of the small group of verbs that have swum against the historical tide.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

David F Colvard
Raleigh NC USA