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Many websites use the phrase 'Forgot password?' when prompting users to renew their login passwords. Is this correct usage or should it be 'Forgotten password?'.

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Whenever I see 'Forgot password?' on a website I always answer in my head: "No, I have not forgot my password, I have forgotten my password" –  Phil Peace Aug 13 '10 at 14:53
    
But can't that be fixed? Forgot your password? and Have you forgotten your password? –  mplungjan Mar 7 '11 at 10:35
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6 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Both are acceptable depending on the context.

"Forgot password" could simply be an informal (shortened) way of saying "I forgot my password." We commonly miss out pronouns to be succinct. In this case, the words form a statement.

Similarly, "Forgot password" could be a shortened form of the question "Have you forgotten your password?".

"Forgotten password" uses the gerundive (attributed verb), and thus is also perfectly fine, in that the page is directing the user to their forgotten password. Here, the words form a noun phrase.

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Awesome question.

Forgot password?

This is short for "You forgot your password?" which is simple past which specifies something that happened at a specific time in the past, namely, right when you came to the site, it was then that you "realized you forgot your password".

Forgotten password?

This is short for "Have you forgotten your password?" which is present perfect which means starting at some point in the past and continuing up to and including the present.

So technically the second is correct if you are describing the psychological act of forgetting. But it sounds odd since the question is really asking, "Did you just try to remember your password and you forgot it at that moment?"

So my vote is for "Forgot your password?

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"Our" sounds patronizing to me. Unless it's a typo; my vote would go to "Forgot your password?". –  Thomas Aug 13 '10 at 9:53
    
Thanks, it was a typo, corrected. –  Edward Tanguay Aug 13 '10 at 9:55
    
@Thomas – The whole “Forgot your password?” thing is patronizing; might as well go whole hog and have something like “Oh dear, have we forgotten our password?” pop up after a failed authentication attempt. –  jwpat7 Aug 18 '12 at 18:10
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The past participle of to forget is forgotten or forgot, in the same way the past participle of to get is gotten or got.
In my experience, forgotten as in forgotten password is seen as an adjective; Forgot password? is understood as Have you forgot your password?

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Yep! By itself, without other context, ("forgotten password"), I'd be reading "forgotten" as a participle (a verb form used as an adjective, describing the noun "password"). reference: more participle info.

In a different context ("Have you forgotten your password?"), the same word becomes part of the verb phrase ("have forgotten"), which tells what the "you" did. No longer does it describe "password"; now "Have...forgotten" is the verb (what you did), and "password" is the direct object of that verb (the thing you forgot). reference: more direct object info.

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It is not wrong to use "Forgot Password" but there must be a question mark at the end. So the correct form is:

Forgot password?

or

Forgot your password?

Google, for example, does it correctly.

alt text

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Why the downvote? –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar May 8 '12 at 16:04
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It is wrong to say forgotten...'forgotten' is not a word...It is an American derivative ...the correct term is 'forgot'...from old England...or ...old Scots...'Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind'...?

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As that great American writer, William Shakespeare, said; "Only compound me with forgotten dust." More seriously, I think you'll find that forgot is mostly archaic or poetically used as the past participle in Britain, much as forgat is for the preterite, though some dialects retain it. As much as I love Robbie Burns, your quoting his (modern) Scots is fair evidence that forgot was used as the participle, but neither proves it the more common current form (auld is much less common than old in contemporary English) nor less so that forgotten isn't also used. –  Jon Hanna Feb 28 at 15:25
    
Also, there's no such thing as "Old Scots", Early Scots derived from Middle English, as the speakers of Middle English moved away from each other giving us the separate dialects of Late Middle English, Early Scots, Fingallian and Yola (aka Forth and Bargy dialect), with Middle Scots being roughly contemporary with Early Modern English, and modern Scots (such as you quote there) with later Modern English. We don't call Early Scots, "Old Scots" as that would suggest it was contemporary with Old English, of which it is actually a descendant. –  Jon Hanna Feb 28 at 15:35
    
Forgotten is the past-participle of forgot. In other words, what the deuce are you talking about?!? If you don't believe it here is a source! –  David M Feb 28 at 20:54
    
@DavidM, they aren't entirely wrong, as forgot is also found as a past participle of forget, though now archaic or restricted to poetic use (maybe some dialectical use exists somewhere today). –  Jon Hanna Feb 28 at 21:03
    
@JonHanna I've forgotten my response to that . . . –  David M Feb 28 at 21:09
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