1. KarlaUW
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    KarlaUW New Member

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    Written Vs. Wrote.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by KarlaUW, Mar 10, 2010.

    I am a 20 year old honor student at The University of Wisconsin - Madison, but for some reason I cannot grasp when to use written or wrote in a sentence. :confused:

    People have tried explaining this to me in random different ways in the past, but I just don't get it.

    Just curious if any of you have a way to explain it that may make it click in my brain!

    Thanks

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  2. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Senior Member Contributor

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    "He wrote a great book."
    "He has written a great book and I think you should look at it."
    "He had written many great books when he was younger but hasn't written anything worth reading in many years."
    "He will have written nineteen books when this one is completed."
    "If he had lived long enough to complete this last project, he would have written six books."

    Wrote is simple past tense. Has/Had is used with past perfect/pluperfect.
    From freedictionary.com:
    And then there is future perfect. "Will have (done s/th)" Something to be done/completed/ in the future

    Not the best description but hope it helps. And I am quite sure some of our more illustrious linguaphiles will chime in with a more complete explanation. In which case, they will have been more help than I have been.
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Supporter Contributor

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    brava!... you've done a yeowomanlike job of it... nothing more should be needed...
  4. KarlaUW
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    KarlaUW New Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks guys, but this is so similar to what I've learned in English classes in school.

    Anyone know of any less conventional ways that they've learned this topic?!
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read, read, and read some more. Proficiency wit language comes from using it, and observing it in action. Pay attention to word usage.

    Be aware that dialogue may represent characters who don't use language correctly. To a lesser degree, narrative can be written in a character's voice and also be incorrect for the same reason. But overall, if you are a passionate reader, you will absorb te correct use of language, even if you haven't studied all the formal rules.
  6. Fallen
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    Fallen New Member

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    Tip: first break the verb down:

    write: base verb
    writes: present tensed
    writing: progressive
    wrote: simple past tensed
    written: past participle

    Then look up the parts confusing you:

    wrote + simple past: simple past signifies time gone by: she wrote that paper

    contrast with past participle (written):

    Past participles are used to:

    1) form a passive: The paper was written (you have form of be (was) + past participle)
    2) form a perfect (action slightly before simpple past) (active): the girl had written a paper (you have 'had + past participle)

    The dfifference between past and past perfect: do a time line to help you remember:

    past perfect (had + past participle) - past - present - progressive (-ing)

    So if you're writing simple past (active voice): you choose wrote: the girl wrote the paper.

    If you want to take the past a little further back, you use 'had + past participle' (past perfect in active voice): the girl had written a paper

    If you want to change to passive voice, you choose the (form of 'be' (was) + past participle) the paper was written.

    Tense, voice and aspect always did my head in. Just try and go back to basics first:

    write down whether the verb in question is base, present, past, participle,
    remember the participle is only used in passive/past perfect constructions.
    passives come with any form of the verb 'be; (was is are) + your past participle,
    past pefect come with 'had + past participle).

    The difference between 'past' and 'past perfect'? use your time-line:

    past perfect - past - present - progressive - (there are other variants but they're not important here)
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Senior Member Contributor

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    Look at these examples:

    He WROTE a book.
    This is Past Simple. There aren't any other verbs in that sentence, right?

    When you ask a question in Past Simple, or have a negative, you need 'DID' as a helping verb. Of course, because 'DID' is already in the past, you just keep the 'write' unchanged:
    DID he WRITE a book?
    He DIDN'T WRITE a book.

    If you have verbs like modals (will/can/can't/should etc) You don't need to change the verb either:
    He WILL WRITE a book.
    He MUST WRITE a book.

    BUT if you are using tenses like perfect tense, which uses HAVE/HAS/HAD (including future perfect with 'will') OR making a passive with verb BE (is/was/were etc) you need to make the verb WRITTEN.

    The book WAS WRITTEN by him.
    He HAS WRITTEN a book.
    He WILL HAVE WRITTEN a book.

    Hope this helps :)
  8. KarlaUW
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    KarlaUW New Member

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    You guys rock!
    Some of you guys are better than writing teachers I had in High School and in college.
    Thanks! :)
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