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GrammarGrounds Grammar Education

 Grammar WELL- GroUNDED


October 4, 2015

Carla from Tennessee asks, "Is swum a word?" 

Yes, swum is a word.  However, it is often used incorrectly.  Swum is a past participle that is used to create a perfect tense or passive voice.  Swum is NOT the past tense of swim.

Jesse swum the backstroke in last night's meet.   INCORRECT

Jesse swam the backstroke in last night's meet.  Correct use of past tense

Jesse has swum the backstroke all season.  Correct use of present-perfect tense

Here, the present-perfect tense indicates that the action started in the past and continues to the present.

In last night's meet, the backstroke was swum by Jesse, Lilly, and Ebony.  This sentence correctly uses swum to create passive voice.  However, the sentence would be stronger written in active voice.  In last night's meet, Jesse, Lilly, and Ebony swam the backstroke. 

Swim is an example of an irregular verb.  Begin is another example.

The teacher begins every class with quiz.

Yesterday, the teacher began class with a quiz on verb tenses.

Every day this week, the teacher has begun class with a quiz on different grammatical rules.

Regular verbs follow a simple pattern.  Walk is an example of a regular verb.

Dianne walks every morning before going to work.

Last week, Dianne walked over twenty miles.

Dianne has walked every morning since her son started kindergarten.