1. CH878
    Offline

    CH878 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    England

    Spit or Spat?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by CH878, Aug 21, 2011.

    A question for any Americans here.

    I was reading an American novel a while ago and for the past tense of the verb 'to spit' the author used 'I spit'. My question is, is this the normal way for Americans to speak? (one of my characters is an American and will use the word) In British English we'd say 'I spat' for past tense.
     
  2. Clumsywordsmith
    Offline

    Clumsywordsmith Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    4
    Yes, we generally say "Spit" as oppose to "Spat".
     
  3. CH878
    Offline

    CH878 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    England
    Thanks!
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    'americans' actually use either one, not just [or even 'generally'] the 'i' version... it depends on what part of the country one is from and the level of education attained, among other things...
     
  5. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    Never knew that. You learn something new every day.
     
  6. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,051
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    Location:
    California, US
    I'm American and I use 'spat."
     
  7. BFGuru
    Offline

    BFGuru Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Somewhere in insomiaville
    We were instructed to use "spat", "swam" and "sang" in grade school. "Dug" as well.

    Some things I read really throw me off. It seems especially prevalent in children's books I read to my kids. "She swimmed in the lake" seems to be common and "He digged for buried treasure" to name a few examples. It totally throws me, and causes anxiety for some reason. Haha.
     
  8. Quezacotl
    Offline

    Quezacotl Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Ponyville
    It really depends on the level of education. I rarely hear people talk like that and if they do, they usually understand how stupid they sound.

    I'd assume that its a mistake.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,917
    Likes Received:
    5,441
    I'm American, and I would use "spit" in speech, but "spat" in writing or in someone else's speech wouldn't throw me off even a little bit. It's probably all about where one learned to speak as a child; I would judge spat as more correct, but I still wouldn't remember to use it.

    Swimmed and digged, on the other hand, are just horrifying. I find myself wondering if this children's book was created by a publisher with an utterly inflexible grade-age vocabulary list. I suppose I prefer that to the idea of a fundamentally illiterate publisher.

    ChickenFreak
     
  10. BFGuru
    Offline

    BFGuru Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Somewhere in insomiaville
    what is "grade-age vocabulary list"? How will our kids learn proper English if we first don't model it? I am the mom that will correct the author's sentence structure if necessary though. :D
     
  11. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,917
    Likes Received:
    5,441
    I don't know if they still commit this travesty, but when I was in school we read Edgar Allan Poe stories where the vocabulary was "corrected" to use only the vocabulary that students of our age were declared, by some guiding body, to know. Down to calling the classic story "The Stolen Letter."

    In my teacher's defense, she was properly horrified, but that's what they had enough copies of in the book room.

    ChickenFreak
     
  12. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,051
    Likes Received:
    5,255
    Location:
    California, US
    I remember the Junie B. Jones book series for kids being criticized for improper grammar and word usage. The narrator is a kindergarten girl, and she narrates in the way many kindergarten kids might talk, maybe using the occasional "runned" instead of "ran" (don't hold me to that specific example - I'm not sure it is used. I'm just illustrating the point). Other aspects of sentence structure are also sometimes improper. but again seem to emulate a child's speech fairly well.

    I didn't have a problem with it, as a parent. My daughter devoured the books, and her use of the English language wasn't scarred or anything. Far better that she was reading as much as she was, and it even brought us opportunities to laugh about how Junie B. Jones "talked," and to discuss the mistakes she made.
     
  13. Blackgamen
    Offline

    Blackgamen Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    I spit and spat all over everything.
    I don't think it will matter if you use either one.
     
  14. SeverinR
    Offline

    SeverinR Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    New Madison Ohio
    No no no! Lets not use that example. I have swum nightmares! (just noticed its still on first page-see swum)

    Yesterday I spat on your grave, today I spit in your face. --Seems correct to me.
     
  15. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    mamma is right it. It's region and education that tends to determine which is used. 'Spat' is correct English but I guess I hang out with the educated hicks because even with masters degrees we use 'spit'.
     
  16. CULLEN DORN
    Offline

    CULLEN DORN Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Florida
    Spit is the verb often used by us although spat is and should be the correct usage.
     
  17. dolly
    Offline

    dolly New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not exactly on topic, but close enough -I have an American aquaintance who uses 'sweat' as a past tense. When she heard that I, as a born and bred Englishwoman, used 'sweated', she was amazed.
     
  18. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    either 'he had sweat it out' or 'he had sweated it out' makes sense to me and i'm not english...
     

Share This Page