This is similar to the question Why is the phrase "should have went" so widely used?, but I'd like to specifically ask the difference between the two phrases, and why "should have gone" is correct:

  1. I should have went to the class, but...

  1. I should have gone to the class, but...

Why is #2 correct? Is there ever a reason #1 would not be ungrammatical?

  • 3
    No, #1 is always wrong.
    – user221615
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 22:26
  • @m69 why would it be wrong? Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 22:29
  • 5
    Search "conjugate the verb go" and you will see.
    – Davo
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 22:29
  • #1 is standard hickspeak. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 0:32
  • @curious-proofreader man, i used that one yesterday, and someone corrected me. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 0:36

3 Answers 3


'Went' is the simple past conjugation of the verb, 'go'. Saying

"I went to class, but..."

is correct because the you are simply explaining something that has already happened. However, in the case of

I should have gone to class, but...

you need to use the past participle. (The word 'have' is always a clue that you need to use the past participle.)

The reason this is confusing is because for most verbs the past participle corresponds to the simple past tense. (Ex. colored, advanced, helped, stopped) 'Go' is irregular, though, so you have to watch out.

See Past Participles on Udemy for a full explanation.

  • Yes, that's the way the paradigms seem to be falling out: either the participle is the same as the past regularly, or an irregular past participle becomes equivalent to past, like shrink, shrunk, shrunk, or an irregular past form becomes the participle, as here. Either way, we wind up with only two forms in the paradigm: present and past, which are the only tenses English has. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 18:34

I think this is a common confusion of the past simple with the past participle.

Modal verbs (should, would, could, etc) are followed by a bare infinitive and the past participle, not the past simple. It can be confusing in the case of irregular verbs, so I ask "Would you say 'should have been', or 'should have was'?"

  • 2
    That's a very good way of putting it that really makes this clear. It also works without "should". We also wouldn't say, "You have was". Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 9:50

There is never, ever, ever an occasion where "went", the simple past tense of the verb "to go", properly takes an auxiliary verb ("has" or "have"). Never. Ever. Never.

  • Why the downvotes?? Isn't Isabel right?.
    – Leroy
    Commented Feb 15 at 10:19

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