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Broughten Is NOT a Word · 31 March 2018


Bring. Brought. Have brought. NOT broughten. (Nor even brang, brung.)


Buy. Bought. Have bought. NOT boughten.


Seek. Sought. Have sought. NOT soughten.


These strange words and many others do not follow much logic in the way they go from present tense to past tense to past participle. (Or whatever the “have done something” tense of the word is called.)


The funny thing is that these non-forms of words show up in conversation. Not including those conversation that these words do not exist.


“She should not have broughten that dish to the potluck.”
“He could have broughten more people in his car.”
“We ought to have broughten Aunt Millie with us.”
“I can’t believe he has boughten that brand of soda again.”
“You should have soughten out my advice beforehand.”


Well, maybe I never did hear that last sentence, but I have heard forms of the others before. By educated people. Not just the ones trying to get my goat.


In reality, I do not care that people speak poorly. It is just that some words ought not make into the English language. And broughten is one of those. Sure it makes sense when compared to get, got, has gotten. Or even bite, bit, has bitten. But have broughten? Has boughten? Was soughten?


Ah well, with the collapse of spelling and punctuation due to texting and social media and the necessity to keep things simple and short, it was bound to happen. People will use whatever form of whatever verbs they need. Including ones that do not exist.


I guess I should not rail against the forces that be. The forces of society that morph language into something unrecognizable. The world has become smaller with the global economy and with that has come the inevitable change in language. Non-native speakers and even native speakers turn words into something they were never supposed to be. They make new words or change words or supplant the exceptions to rules by applying the rules to which they are exceptions (as if that makes any sense). Thus words like broughten and boughten enter the spoken English language like stealthy little moles and sooner or later, they enter the mainstream and end up as variations of the proper words. It is a travesty that I hope this short rant does not add to.


Ah well.


When it comes right down to it, broughten may only be spoken (usually inadvertently) at my house. Of course, never by me. (Oops. I think I heard somebody calling me a liar.) Regardless, broughten is not a word. At least not yet.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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