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What is the difference between took and taken?

As an example assume a monkey is in a well, and someone is trying to say they would have taken the money out. Are both of these sentences grammatically correct?

I would have jumped in there and took the monkey out

or

I would have jumped in there and taken the monkey out.

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    There are some dialects where the simple past tense and the past participle are not distinguished (except in a few verbs). In those dialects, “I have took”, “I have gave”, “I have saw”, etc. are acceptable. These dialects are a minority, however. In the vast majority of dialects, the past tense is took/gave/saw, the past participle is taken/given/seen, and only the second of your examples is grammatical. Dec 22, 2014 at 20:17
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    My apologies, every over stack exchange I have used is either open to 'basic' questions or relocates them if appropriate. This said I predominately used the scientific ones, perhaps such communities are less inclined fence off access to knowledge.
    – User
    Dec 22, 2014 at 21:15
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    Surely, even on scientific SE sites, very basic questions that can be found in any standard reference work are considered unsuitable? I have a hard time thinking that asking on Physics what number oxygen has in the periodic table will gain you much. Incidentally, if you edit your question to ask for further details on which dialects would consider both your examples correct, and indeed if there are differences in how the conflation between past and participle forms works and how the forms are used in those dialects—then that would be a very good question for ELU. Dec 22, 2014 at 21:18
  • If you asked that question on Physics it would be moved to Chemistry since it has nothing to do with Physics. Perhaps as a contrast I can recognise the spirit of a question, to which I would say standard book questions are generally answered. I am not a linguist so I didn't know how to phrase it well, I was actually hoping for a thoughtful discussion rather than a simple yes/no. The fact that I need to rephrase it in the appropriate jargon speaks to what kind of community this is.
    – User
    Dec 22, 2014 at 21:40
  • It doesn’t have to be in the appropriate jargon. But your question was, verbatim, “What is the difference between took and taken?” That question can be answered by looking in any dictionary. Thoughtful discussions are not what SE sites are for: they’re for authoritative answers (which often engender some discussion, but that’s a by-product), and authoritative answers require at least somewhat precise questions. From your later comments, it seems you’re a native English speaker, which means you are perfectly well aware of the difference between those two words; but that’s [cont’d-->] Dec 22, 2014 at 21:48

2 Answers 2

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Took is the simple past tense, whereas taken is the past participle.

This means that you can say took on its own, e.g.

I took the cake,

but you have to have an auxiliary (helping) verb with taken, e.g.

I have taken


In your case the second example is correct, as your verb is in the conditional perfect which requires an auxilliary ('having' in this case,) therefore the past participle (taken) is necessary.

Also, not only is

I would have jumped in there and took the monkey out

gramatically incorrect, it sounds wrong as well.

See http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/simple-past-or-past-participle for more information on the difference between the past tense and the past participle

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    Sorry? I don't understand... I didn't ask the question... @EdwinAshworth
    – joe_young
    Dec 22, 2014 at 19:41
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    It shouldn't be answered. Dec 22, 2014 at 19:42
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    Okay, just trying to help. Not sure what I can do about this just answering the person's question. @EdwinAshworth
    – joe_young
    Dec 22, 2014 at 19:44
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    @Jofish Thanks for taking the time to write a response.
    – User
    Dec 22, 2014 at 21:05
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    Ooh, fight, fight, fi-... Ok I'll be sensible. Whilst perhaps @EdwinAshworth has a point about the type of questions we are looking to field on the site, I think that it was a genuine mistake/oversight on user's part and that really s/he couldn't have been much more polite about it. He was just looking for an answer to his question (and isn't that what this site is really about?) And by the way user your thank you was appreciated you are very welcome :)
    – joe_young
    Dec 23, 2014 at 17:37
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Taken is the past participle and hence is grammatically correct in your sentence using the comditional perfect. Took is the simple past and is not used with auxiliary verbs.

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    Did you accidentally turn off auto-correct? (Additionally, as Edwin mentioned in his comments above, this question does not belong on ELU at all, and therefore it is better to refrain from answering it here.) Dec 22, 2014 at 20:12

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