English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I forgot versus I had forgot. What is the difference between the two phrases?

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

"I forgot" is the simple past, expressing an action which took place once.

"I had forgotten" is is the simple past perfect, used to express an action taking place before a certain time in the past. This tense emphasizes what happened, not the duration thereof.

"I had forgot" is generally considered bad grammar, at least in my part of the US, because the correct past participle of "forgot" is "forgotten".

See http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/tenses for examples of all English tenses.

share|improve this answer
The past particle can be both forgotten or forgot, in the same way the past participle of to get is gotten or got (New Oxford American Dictionary). – kiamlaluno Aug 28 '10 at 21:14
But have gotten and have got have completely different meanings in American English. – user706 Aug 28 '10 at 22:41
@kiamlaluno: there are regional variations; in British English, the past participles of "to forget" and "to get" are "forgotten" and "got" only. – Steve Melnikoff Aug 29 '10 at 13:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.