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?

  • 2
    No, #1 is always wrong. – user221615 Mar 14 '17 at 22:26
  • @m69 why would it be wrong? – user1383058 Mar 14 '17 at 22:29
  • 5
    Search "conjugate the verb go" and you will see. – Davo Mar 14 '17 at 22:29
  • #1 is standard hickspeak. – curious-proofreader Mar 15 '17 at 0:32
  • @curious-proofreader man, i used that one yesterday, and someone corrected me. – user1383058 Mar 15 '17 at 0:36

'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.


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". – Isabel Archer Apr 19 '20 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.

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