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I got into an argument about the sentence "Have you overrode SomeThingamajig?"

I thought that "have overrode" is incorrect, and should be "overrode" or "have overridden", or perhaps "did override".

However, I was told that in some contexts, "have overrode" is appropriate.

Is "Have you overrode SomeThingamajig?" correct?

When is is appropriate to say "have overrode"?

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Never heard that myself, but Wiktionary has some interesting figures. "Overrode is sometimes used as past participle instead of overridden. It seems more common in the US. It seems most common with had, reaching 20% of usage in Usenet with that auxiliary. Less common was use with have and least with has. Usage in edited works seems consistently less than 2% with most auxiliaries, except had where it can approach 5% of usage." – RegDwigнt Jul 24 '12 at 18:28
@RegDwightАΑA Wonder if that's about as common as "have ate", "have roden", and such. – MετάEd Jul 24 '12 at 18:41
What about 'overwritten'? 'overwrote'? Which is the eggcorn? – Mitch Jul 24 '12 at 18:42
@Kendall: What MetaEd only hints at is that "have ate" is indeed grammatical in several US Northeast dialects. Though even there, if I am not mistaken, it is more commonly triggered not by have alone, but rather by coulda/shoulda/woulda, or in negations (i.e. "haven't ate"). We actually have a question on "should have went" with a rather helpful answer by a linguist. So while John Lawler (who is a linguist himself) is certainly 100% correct for Standard English you might wish to check if the folks you are arguing with are from NJ or Long Island. – RegDwigнt Jul 24 '12 at 21:16
up vote 28 down vote accepted

Override is formed from the irregular verb ride.

The Principal Parts of ride are ride, rode, ridden.

That means the PPs of override are override, overrode, overridden. With me so far?

OK, the first PP in each case is the Infinitive form (to ride, to override).

The second PP is the Past form (They rode it, They overrode it)

The third PP is the Perfect Passive Participle (They have ridden it, They have overridden it).

The Perfect Passive Participle is the form that is used with be in the Passive construction, and -- as here -- with have in the Perfect construction. One does not use the Past tense form with an auxiliary verb in any construction.

Executive Summary: *Was overrode, *has overrode, and *be overrode are all ungrammatical.

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So, the answers to my questions are "no" and "never"? – Kendall Frey Jul 24 '12 at 18:48
Yes, I think you could draw those respective conclusions. – John Lawler Jul 24 '12 at 18:59
So what @RegDwightAAA mentions in his comment above (about Wikipedia indicating overrode as a possible past participle in certain cases) is totally nonsense? I tend to trust you and grammar books more than Wikipedia, but have you got anything to support your statement? – Paola Jul 24 '12 at 20:25
I didn't say it's totally nonsense. It's a regional dialect; these often have variants of irregular forms; and it's a common tendency for all English verbs to have the same forms in Past and Past Participle. All regular verbs do, and so do many irregular verbs (e.g, think, thought, thought; wring, wrung, wrung). – John Lawler Jul 24 '12 at 21:22
You're right, you said that was overrode, has overrode and be overrode are all ungrammatical, it's me who summarized it as totally nonsense. I suppose the meaning is different, but perhaps you have to take into account the fact that foreigners tend to learn what is proper and grammatical, whereas ungrammatical regional forms are usually avoided as not worth bothering with. – Paola Jul 24 '12 at 22:14

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