Wrong Word Wednesday #55

Every week I demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the actual meaning. Usually this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence, sometimes it sounds amusing. Unfortunately, the mistake is so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

Saw / Seen

This is one that most people know, even if they do not know why they know. Yet some use the latter “I seen it” when they mean “I saw it”. I have heard Americans from southern states do this a lot. It’s pretty simple to tell the difference.

Saw – The past tense of “see”. “I saw you in the supermarket last week”

Seen – The past participle of see which means it cannot be used in isolation. It must be accompanied by an auxiliary verb – in this case have or had. “I couldn’t remember if I had seen this film, but now we’re a few minutes in I remembering seeing it”.

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