swam or swum?

14 replies
1 2
I dont know when to use swam and swum. Can someone please explain?

Its in this scentence:
I touched the snake on its back and then I swum up to see the manta ray but all I got to see was when it turned around and swam away.

Cheers
New Member02
The part "~the I swum up to see~" seems wrong to me.
It's either "I swam up" or "I had swum up" but in this case, "swam up" looks better for the sake of parallelism.

Also, the part "all I got to see was WHEN it TURNED around and SWAM away." looks awkward.

I would say "all I got to see was it(him/her) turning around and swimming away.

SS
New Member45
Verb = swim

Swam = past simple tense. Refers to actions/events in past time. "She swam a kilometre yesterday." No connection with present time.

Swum = past participle. Used to form the pefect tense with auxiliary verb "have" - have/has/had + past participle = perfect tense.

Note the time/tense is given by the auxiliary verb. "I have swum/She has swum" = present perfect. Don't be confused by the term past participle. This is a present tense.

"I had swum" = past perfect.

Present perfect verb forms are used to refer to past time and present time together. Contrast this with past simple which is used to refer to past time only.

"She has already swum one kilometre." (She began swimming an hour ago (past) and she is still swimming (present)).

The auxiliary verb "be" is used with the past participle to make passive verb forms. - be + past participle = passive. Swim does not readily take the passive but here goes: "The English Channel is swum by strong swimmers every year"

Hope this helps your understanding.
New Member08
and then I swum up to see the manta ray

should be

and then I swam up to see the manta ray

If there's no helper verb (e.g., has, have, had), use swam.

CJ
Veteran Member53,430
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Anonymous:
Swam can stand by itself. It is the simple past tense. "Swum" is a past participle, and must be accompanied by another verb in order to be complete.

The sentence that you cited is written in non-standard (dialectical) English, and is grammatically wrong.

There are no accepted non-standard dialects in English. In private correspondence and chat rooms, you will see many grammatical and orthographic (spelling) errors.

There are Canadian, American, and British spelling standards which are to be used in their respective countries. This can be confusing for someone who is learning English as a second language.

Your example sentence would be correctly written like this:

I touched the snake on its back and then I swam up to see the manta ray, but all I got to see was when it turned around and swam away.

It appears to be written by a Southern American with less than a University degree.
Anonymous:
AnonymousIt appears to be written by a Southern American with less than a University degree.
I think it would have been better to say:

"It appears to have been written"
Anonymous:
In the perfect tense where an action is completed swum must be used. In past he had swum, present he has swum and future he will have swum. In the simple past tense swam must be used. In past he swam, present he swims and future he will swim.
Anonymous:
I swam up to see, as it is simple past tense. also, swam away is correct. Swum is used with the perfect tense, in the past, present and future.

Posted previous comment as well - David Taylor
Hi,

I might add that having a degree does not guarantee the writing of good English.Emotion: wink

Clive
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