Tag Archives: Past tense

I Dreamt a Dream

25 Feb

The evolution of my feelings towards Anne Hathaway can be summed up by these, my chronological thought snippets:

“… prinCESS of Genovia.  That is fun to say!  This makes her a great actress!  Marlon Brando never had long princessy names like that.  Side note: remember to find out who Marlon Brando is.  I’m pretty sure a Wayan’s brother, but make sure.  May also be a type of cereal.”

“Ella Enchanted? More like ‘Smella Enchanted!’ Or: Ella Enchanted? More like, ‘Ella En-shant be getting any Academy Award nominations!’  Side note: you are ready for your battle rap career.  I know you’re nervous, but every battle rap crowd loves a good Ella Enchanted reference.  Just remember this, above all else: people who aren’t white definitely know and care about Anne Hathaway.” 

“OMG, DEER! DEER IN MY HEADLIGHTS! No … nope, Anne Hathaway.”

“Princess Diaries II: Royal Engagement?  I say, Princess Diaries II: Royal EnRAGEment … that this film had to end!  What a daring vision! What a journey!  Although that no-name playing Queen Clarisse really brought Anne down.”

Then there was a long period of time in which I did not think about Anne Hathaway at all.  Then:

“Hey, good call, Christopher Nolan: I kind of like her as Catwoman.  And wow, what a brave choice on Anne’s part: it’s not easy to follow America’s favorite Cat Woman, Halle Berry/most aunts.”

Then, as in all great love stories, ours took a turn when one night, I had a dream that Anne owned a small, dirty hair salon in south central Florida.  I came in for a consult, but we mostly ended up shooting the breeze and talking about life.  We finally got down to talking about hair, and I told her I was thinking about going for a pixie cut, but that I was scared.  She looked me in the eyes, and with the earnestness of a pixie-haired lemur said, “Don’t cut off all your hair.  That’s too much change.  But you should buzz off all of the sides.”

Little did dream Anne know, but shady business-owners in Florida giving me nonsensical beauty advice is my love language.  Once, the janitor at rip-off theme park Dysney Whirld told me that if I colored my face the same way I colored my nails, I’d almost be a bird, and we dated for six years.

So because of this, I would have liked her even if Les Mis hadn’t happened, but then it DID happen, and now I love her.

But you, like me, were probably unable to pay attention to most of Les Mis after Anne’s iconic “I Dreamed a Dream” scene because you were all like, “When is the past tense of dream dreamed, and when is it dreamt? Is it a Briti–AHH, THIN DEER ON THE SCREEN, THIN DEER ON THE SCREE–nope, nope, Anne again.”

To solve all of your problems, here’s a quick and easy look at some of the most commonly used irregular verbs (i.e. verbs that might have a past tense that ends in a ‘t.’).

Verbs where the past tense CAN end with a t, but where the -ed ending is more common:

Dreamt: The most common way (in American English) to make this past tense is to make dream into dreamed.  Dreamt is an acceptable option, but it is much more common in British English.

Burnt: Burned is a much more common past tense, but when it’s turned into an adjective, burnt is more popular (see: burnt sienna, brown’s best chance at love).

Leapt: This is a fairly well-accepted variant on the past tense of leap.  Be sure not to spell it “lept,” though.

Verbs where the -t ending in place of the -ed ending is still technically an option, but it’s very uncommon and very British and you will probably be judged for doing it unless you’re entrenched in some kind of Angophile fan-fic world, in which case, being judged is probably not really your biggest concern at this point, is it?:

Clapt (instead of clapped)

Leant (instead of leaned)

Learnt (instead of learned)

Slipt (instead of slipped)

Smelt (instead of smelled … which is funny, because smelt is also a fish, and, you know, eww)

Spilt (instead of spilled)

Words where the -t ending is the ONLY acceptable past tense ending:

Bent (past tense of bend)

Crept (past tense of creep)

Dealt (past tense of deal)

Felt (past tense of feel)

Left (past tense of leave … although the real past tense of leaves are buds! Yes! Got ’em with a nature zing!)

Lent (past tense of lend)

Lost (past tense of lose)

Meant (past tense of mean)

Sent (past tense of send)

Slept (past tense of sleep)

Spent (past tense of spend)

Wept (past tense of weep)

This list is not comprehensive, but it does cover many of the big players in the irregular verbs game.

I know you’re probably sick of reading this since it’s just been a repeat of all the post-Oscars Les Mis stuff you’ve been reading all day anyway.  You know, because there’s anything Oscars-related besides Jennifer Lawrence worth talking about anyway.

But before I totally lose you, two fun Les Mis facts:

1. Russell Crowe was not aware at any point that he was being filmed.  All of his scenes were cut from a paparazzo’s secret footage of an argument Russell was having with his publicist.

2. Pantene Pro-V tried to book Anne Hathaway’s character for a shampoo ad campaign, but it fell apart.  Something about the “ghost of Victor Hugo threatening to haunt everyone at Pantene per a clause in his contract” or whatever.

The ad campaign?  “Fantine Pro-V.  For when you’re a prostitute and all your hair is gone.”

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Lay vs. Lie Lady Lay vs. Lie

20 Nov

My fiancé’s name is Evan.  I say this because I will from now on refer to him only as Evan.  Why?  Because there is nothing–and I mean nothing–more toolish than making references to one’s fiancé.  I feel like it is name dropping at its most obnoxious: which is to be expected, since it requires the use of a French word.  Even when the speaker doesn’t intend it, using the word “fiancé” in a sentence is a red flag upon which is written, “I need attention. VALIDATE ME.”  Incidentally, I believe that exact sentence is written on the French flag.

Above my bed is the large Bob Dylan poster you see below, and so while I write these, it appears that he is looking over my shoulder.  Because of this, Evan’s (see, I only call him Evan now) favorite new game is to give me grammar blog ideas in Bob Dylan’s voice, quoting the most ridiculous Bob Dylan lyrics he can.  You have to imagine the following suggestions in the most exaggerated, nasal-y Dylan voice possible.

“Hey. Hey. You should write  a blog about Einstein disguised as Robin Hood, with his memories in a trunk.”

“Hey. You should write a post about how Aladdin and his lamp sit with Utopian hermit monks side saddle on the golden calf.”

“Hey. Write about how Georgia Sam, he had a bloody nose, and the Welfare Department, they wouldn’t give him no clothes.”

A few minutes of silence go by as I’m typing.  Then, from across the room, Bob Dylan’s voice suggests:

“Hey. I know. Write a post about how I walked by a Guernsey cow who directed me to the Bowery slums where people carried signs around saying, ‘Ban the bums.’  Write about how the funniest woman I ever seen was the great-granddaughter of Mr. Clean, and how she takes about fifteen baths a day and wants me to grow a moustache on my face.  Write about the ghost of Belle Star–she hands down her wits to Jezebel the nun, and she violently knits a bald wig for Jack the Ripper who sits at the head of the Chamber of Commerce.”

Now, I like to think that I have subtly woven these themes into my writing.  But there’s one piece of advice I have to reject from my talking Bob Dylan poster.  If he ever wanted me to write about his song “Lay Lady Lay,” I would have to put my proverbial foot down.  “No, Bob,” I would say.  “I cannot write about that song because it is grammatically incorrect.”

So while Bob fumes on my wall, let’s explore lie vs. lay.  Let’s also ignore that I am talking to a poster.

In the present tense, it’s pretty simple: lay is used when there is a direct object.  You would lay down a blanket (if you were putting a blanket on the ground or on a bed).  You would lay down a book (if you put it on the table or on the floor).  Remember it this way: a bag of Lay’s potato chips is a physical thing.  If you need to stop eating those chips, you would lay down the bag of Lay’s.  Lay Lady Lay would only be correct if the Lady was actually laying something across Bob’s big brass bed.  I would completely accept the song if it went something like: “Lay lady lay, lay a plastic sheet across my big brass bed, because I suffer from incontinence.”

Lie is used when there is no direct object involved: just a single person.  You would lie down to take a nap.  You might tell somebody to lie still.  Remember it this way: you are lying to yourself when you say that you’re only going to lie down for a 20 minute nap.  It’s cold, and your blankets are warm, and once you lie down, you ain’t going nowhere.

It’s a little tougher once we get to the past tense and past participle tense(the latter of which will be preceded by has, had, or have).  First, I’ll give you the chart.

Present Tense         Past Tense                  Past Participle 

Lie                                   Lay                                  Lain

Lay                                  Laid                                 Laid

Here is what the verb “lie” looks like conjugated out into sentences.

Present:

I have to lie down because I am tired.

Past:

I lay down yesterday because I was tired.

Past Perfect:

I had lain there for hours before anyone woke me.

And here is what the verb “lay” looks like conjugated out into sentences.

Present:

“Lay down that remote!” she yelled.

Past:

He laid the baby down in the crib.

Past Perfect:

He has laid bricks for twenty years.

These are tough to remember.  There is crossover and repetition, and it’s frankly ridiculous.  The present tense of lay is the same as the past tense of lie?  The past and the past perfect of lay are both laid?  And don’t tell me that lain is a word.  Lain can’t be a word.  It sounds like the name of a character on a show like Gossip Girl.  “Hello.  I’m Lain Rotisserie van der Mario Cart.  I am 16, but I have a receding hair line, I run a hedge fund, and bars apparently never card me.”

But it’s all true.  The best you can do is try to memorize that chart, and if you can’t, print a copy  and keep it with you at all times.  No one wants to be at party and be caught using the wrong form of lie or lay, that’s for sure!

It’s like the old saying goes: “Boys don’t make passes at girls who don’t have a laminated grammar chart in their purse.”

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