Yo, Grammar: What’s up with “spring,” “sprang,” and “sprung”?

Spring" is a funky verb. It is an irregular verb that has two accepted past tense forms: sprang and sprung.

The “controversy” lies in whether sprung can be used as the simple past tense of “spring.” Many people have always used sprang, and they’ve assumed that sprung was just the past participle form. However, like “dive” (whose past tense can be either dived or dove), both sprang and sprung are accepted as the past tense of “spring.”

Unlike the simple past tense, the past participle must be sprung. “Many new donut shops have sprang up in my community” would be incorrect.

Notes

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