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In US and in UK respectively, which is more popular as the past participle of forget: forgotten or forgot? Which is more formal/informal?


I haven't forgot(ten) you.

You will not be forgot(ten).

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The OED describes the use of the past participle forgot as 'archaic' and 'poetical'.

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THanks! Can OED be used online and free? – Tim Nov 24 '11 at 16:39
@Tim:Yes, at <oed.com/>;, but it requires subscription. Those in the UK can have free access through their local public libraries. – Barrie England Nov 24 '11 at 16:41
Thanks, I didn't know that Barrie. Do you post your answers from the library? – z7sg Ѫ Nov 24 '11 at 16:58
Thanks! The subscription seems not free. – Tim Nov 24 '11 at 17:02
@z7sg Ѫ: No, I have direct access from my home computer. – Barrie England Nov 24 '11 at 17:08

Grammatically speaking I don't really think haven't forgot is a cardinal sin compared to some usages that make it into popular parlance, but it does seem that people mostly get this one right.

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Thanks! I also wanted to try ngram, but didn't know which phrases are typical enough for search. – Tim Nov 24 '11 at 15:10
I wonder if the huge dip in the 1970s was due to the increased consumption of drugs. "I forgot, man!" – Polynomial Nov 24 '11 at 15:11
@Polynomial: Well, you know what they say - If you can remember the 70s, you weren't there! I think we mostly looked at comic books rather than the printed word. – FumbleFingers Nov 24 '11 at 16:30
@Tim: I probably over-use NGram - which isn't all that reliable, I admit. But in a case like this I think it's pretty convincing evidence that the ungrammatical version hasn't exactly shot to prominence. – FumbleFingers Nov 24 '11 at 16:34
Fascinating exchange! Especially the interpretation of the Ngram re the 70s. Thank you guys :) – user99696 Dec 1 '14 at 16:27

Honestly speaking, as an educated southerner and an ESL instructor, I needed to look up the past participle of this word one more time. I interchange between the two without noticing. Sometimes I say, "I have forgot my keys." Sometimes I say, "She's forgotten her money." I would say both are accepted as past participle forms in the Appalachian region and southeastern United States. I heard my doctor say, "You haven't forgot what I told you, have ya?" He has a degree in medicine from Emory University. In my informal speech I often use words that the British stopped using hundreds of years ago. My ancestors wanted to keep a piece of the motherland (Great Britain) so they made a conscious effort to use words and phrases such as "gotten" and "yonder."

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