In English, there are verbs that have two valid past participles. An example for such a verb would be sow which has the two forms sowed and sown.

Are there English verbs that have more than one valid past tenses?

  • 1
    Are you asking about past participles or past tenses? 'Sowed' is usually described as the simple past tense while 'sown' is the past participle. Jul 15, 2016 at 4:56
  • I was asking about past tenses. According to dictionary.com, sowed can also be used as the past participle: dictionary.com/browse/sow
    – zepp133
    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:58
  • If you're only asking about past tense forms, why did you cite the participle "sown" in your question?
    – BillJ
    Jul 15, 2016 at 12:36

2 Answers 2


kneeled / knelt, chided / chid. Irregular verbs that became regularized.

  • 1
    Also you have regular verbs that have become irregular: dived / dove. Jul 15, 2016 at 5:48
  • @guifa Well, in some dialects, perhaps. Elsewhere, "dive" is still regular. Likewise, "telt" is the p.t. of "tell" in some dialects. Some more irregular verbs where regular forms are also used: strive (strove/strived, striven/strived); thrive, similarly; learn (learnt/learned); spell (spelt/spelled)
    – Rosie F
    Jul 17, 2016 at 14:20
  • Learned and learnt is an interesting case. There is a red squiggly line under the latter as I type BTW.
    – vin
    Jul 17, 2016 at 18:18

While the trend seems to be towards the regularization of verbs, some have gone the other way:

The preterite of dig was digged until the 1600s, when it began to change to dug. Some irregular verbs references still retain both forms.

More recently, in some American dialects, we now have snuck (for sneaked) and dove (for dived). Personally, they make me shudder.

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