Grammar: shown vs. showed?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by NaphtaliPress, Nov 6, 2007.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Ok. I've read too many Puritans. When should "shown" be used instead of "showed"? For example, is this sentence correct:
    It must then be in force as perpetual, unless (as we said) a clear and certain repeal of it can be showed in Scripture.
    Or would "shown in Scripture" be proper now?
  2. Ginny Dohms

    Ginny Dohms Puritan Board Freshman

    "Showed" is past tense, as in "I showed the book to a friend." "Shown", is past perfect tense, as in "I have shown the book to many people." So in light of that, I would use 'shown' in the sentence you provided, but that is just my opinion.
  3. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I think you should use 'shew'.

    No seriously, usually 'showed' is used in the past tense and 'shown' in the past perfect. Technically, 'showed' should always be correct but in practice, common usage rules the day. For example, 'I knowed' ought to be correct because the past tense is made by adding an 'ed'. But common usage has kept ' I knew' (the irregular verb) in business. English is so frustrating in that way. Did you know that 'holp' was once the irregular verb that was replaced by 'helped'? Just like 'knew' and 'knowed'. Sometimes the old irregular gets replaced by common usage and sometimes it doesn't. The rules are always overidden by common usage so in your question, both are correct so go with which ever one sounds the best to you and your peers. In the example you have given, I would choose 'shown'.
  4. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    "Shown" is the past participle and is the form to use with an auxilliary verb (like to be). "Showed" is past simple and has no auxilliary.

    But Bob is correct in the "go with what sounds good" trend. Some of us fogeys bridle at it. ;-)
  5. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    Just use "seen" instead. Unless you would rather use "seeed."
  6. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Okay; I was curious so I 'bumped' this thread to see why it was showing up in the stats as the most viewed thread on the board; and that's a lot of views. I guess given the high ranking PB gets in search engines this has attracted a lot of grammar hits; who knew so many were confused on showed versus shown?
  7. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I do searches like that (shown vs. showed) quite a lot whenever I'm editing something, because before correcting learned doctors one wants to make sure that one's instincts are both correct and defensible.
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