Dive v. Dove

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DollarBill:
I am having a rather heated debate over the past tense of dive. I recall having a HS English teacher insist on DIVE rather than DOVE.

Online references tend towards DOVE as an acceptable form. I'm really not a Queen's English linguist and although it may sound awkward at times I rather prefer DIVED over the accepted colloquial usage, DOVE. Whenever I hear DOVE, I cringe. I'm not a snob but it just sounds so rural!

Would anybody be sufficiently kind to provide an explanation of the usage?

The OED seems to be the definitive reference however it seems the editors at OED acquiesce towards common usage rather than what is proper and historically correct.
Thank you.
-G.W.
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Robert Lieblich:
[nq:1]I am having a rather heated debate over the past tense of dive. I recall having a HS English teacher insist on DIVE rather than DOVE.[/nq]
You mean "dived," of course. As for the English teacher, almost nothing an English teacher does surprises me.
[nq:1]Online references tend towards DOVE as an acceptable form. I'm really not a Queen's English linguist and although it may ... accepted colloquial usage, DOVE. Whenever I hear DOVE, I cringe. I'm not a snob but it just sounds so rural![/nq]
You are hardly alone in this sort of reaction, which many English speakers experience and which can be triggered by a variety of usages. I have my own little list, which I will spare you. But an internal wince or cringe is very different from an overt reaction, particularly a "correction." Feel free to go right on cringing, but try not to let anyone notice.
As for "dove" as the past tense of "dive," it's a solidly established alternative to "dived." Both are legitimate. I myself don't use "dove," but I also don't find it cringe-worthy. It's just the alternative that I don't use. Anyway, we're now in the realm of personal opinion I can't tell you not to cringe, and you can hardly insist that I do so.
[nq:1]Would anybody be sufficiently kind to provide an explanation of the usage?[/nq]
Merriam-Webster has done a pretty good job: "Dive, which was originally a weak verb, developed a past tense dove, probably by analogy with verbs like drive, drove. Dove exists in some British dialects and has become the standard past tense especially in speech in some parts of Canada. In the United States dived and dove are both widespread in speech as past tense and past participle, with dove less common than dived in the south Midland area, and dived less common than dove in the Northern and north Midland areas. In writing, the past tense dived is usual in British English and somewhat more common in American English. Dove seems relatively rare as a past participle in writing." You can find this at
; search for "dive."
[nq:1]The OED seems to be the definitive reference however[/nq]
Your punctuation needs a bit of work. (Sorry, but this is an English usage group.)
[nq:1]it seems the editors at OED acquiesce towards common usage rather than what is proper and historically correct.[/nq]
Now you've gone and done it. I'll spare you the full-dress AEU lecture on how language evolves and good usage is whatever educated native speakers of the language do. But you need to get over the idea that last year's English is better than this year's. There's nothing wrong with "dove," just as there's nothing wrong with lots of things that make me (and probably you) wince. (Check out some of my posted comments on "as such" over the years.)
As for the OED, its goal and its function are to describe the English language as it actually exists and existed in the past, not to tell people what's "right" and what's "wrong." By its own self-description, it operates on "historical principles." But it's hardly alone in that. No self-respecting contemporary dictionary attempts to regulate usage. You may be told that a given usage can be found in specific places or in use by particular classes, that it is considered vulgar, or obscene. You may find usage notes like the one I've quoted from M-W. But no dictionary will tell you "dived good, dove bad." If it did that, it wouldn't be a true dictionary. Usage books do that sort of thing some better than others. But that's a whole nother paragraph, and I'm written out.
Try to follow this thread for a while; you're likely to see some interesting comments from others.

Bob Lieblich
Going 'round again
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Eric Walker:
[nq:1]Try to follow this thread for a while; you're likely to see some interesting comments from others.[/nq]
There's not really a lot to add. The "dove" form of "dive" is an unusual beast, being a relatively late addition to the class of "strong" verbs in English, a group that is shrinking in size overall; it was apparently formed by analogy with other strong verbs. Wikipedia has several interesting and useful articles:
. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong verb
. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregular verb
. of English irregular verbs

What is perhaps most remarkable is the relatively small number of irregular verbs in the language. I suppose that it is the most commonly used verbs that are most likely to be irregular, so I guess we tend to over-estimate their actual number based on the frequency with which we hear irregular forms.
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Ray O'Hara:
I prefer dovem maybe it's a dive/dove, drive/drove. I never drived to the store.,I drove to the store.
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Bill McCray:
[nq:1]Merriam-Webster has done a pretty good job: "Dive, which was originally a weak verb, developed a past tense dove, probably ... English. Dove seems relatively rare as a past participle in writing." You can find this at ; search for "dive."[/nq]
So, have you diven off the high board yet?
Bill
Reverse halves of the user name for my e-address
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DollarBill:
[nq:1]Your punctuation needs a bit of work. (Sorry, but this is an English usage group.)[/nq]
Usage, not punctuation!! Sorry 'bout the missed comma, ;>)
[nq:1](Check out some of my posted comments on "as such" over the years.)[/nq]
So what about "as per?" As in, "As per the previous memo, you will be at work on time." I believe it's simply "per."
[nq:1]As for the OED, its goal and its function are to describe the English language as it actually exists and ... self-description, it operates on "historical principles." But it's hardly alone in that. No self-respecting contemporary dictionary attempts to regulate usage.[/nq]
Understood.
Thanks,
Bill
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Robert Lieblich:
[nq:1][/nq]
[nq:2]Your punctuation needs a bit of work. (Sorry, but this is an English usage group.)[/nq]
[nq:1]Usage, not punctuation!! Sorry 'bout the missed comma, ;>)[/nq]
There's either more or less to this than meets the eye.

What we began with was "The OED seems to be the definitive reference however it seems ..." The traditional punctuation around this sort of "however" is "definitive reference; however, it seems ..." Commas alone aren't always strong enough to indicate the intent of a given "however." I must admit, however, (different use, different punctuation) that there is a drift toward using only a comma preceding the sort of "however" that can be replaced word for word with "but," of which yours is an example. Right now, however, the usage is in transition, so I'm still entitled to object to it and hope it becomes set in concrete. I expect to lose.
Commas do matter, however, and sometimes a lot. (See , and be sure not to miss the last sentence. At other times, a give comma one way or the other is no big deal. Part of the fun(1) is figuring out when a comma matters and what to do about it.
(1) We have strange ideas of fun around here.

Bob Lieblich
Not quite the pedant he may appear (he hopes)
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Robert Lieblich:
Right now, however, the usage is in
[nq:1]transition, so I'm still entitled to object to it and hope it becomes set in concrete.[/nq]
Nothing like careful editing, folks. That was supposed to be revised to "doesn't become."
Maybe next time.

Bob Lieblich
World's Greatest Proofreader NOT
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Anonymous:
DollarBill ha escrito:
[nq:1]I am having a rather heated debate over the past tense of dive. I recall having a HS English teacher ... seems the editors at OED acquiesce towards common usage rather than what is proper and historically correct. Thank you. -G.W.[/nq]
Dive / dived / dived or dive / dove / dived. Nearly 50 years ago, I was told not to use "dove," that "dived" was correct. Not that "dove" was incorrect, just old-fashioned.
The OED is a descriptive dictionary, giving meanings of words as they were used in writing. All other dictionaries used to be prescriptive, where the careful could go to find our what was right. However, they have all changed to descriptive, without telling anyone! An article in (perhaps) Publishers Weekly mentioned this detail about 20 years ago. Everyone look up the pronunciation of "mischievous" in the latest Webster's Collegiate. For an American the best dictionary is the American Heritage Dictionary, available at www.bartleby.com, which has comments and Usage Notes scattered through it. Its entry for "dive": http://www.bartleby.com/61/11/D0301100.html And a Regional Note under "wake": http://www.bartleby.com/61/13/W0011300.html

Cece
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