I read the following passage from the instagram account of a trans celebrity describing their romantic life pre/post-transition, and was a bit irked by the use of 'begun' (which is funny, because it meant the pathos of the entire post was lost on me...)

I have not been successful as a lesbian. It’s a new problem for me. Before I transitioned women would somehow gravitate into my life without my having to think about it very much. In the first years of transition men begun to gravitate instead. I sometimes feel like I sacrificed my sexual orientation for my gender.

I get that the sentence is in present-perfect (had begun) but there is no 'had' here, and 'begun' is not functioning as a participle (is begun) - it sounds like an active verb. I thought perhaps 'to gravitate' would be considered the 'helping verb' (without which 'begun' would be 'began'), but 'began to gravitate' sounds fine too. Am I missing something or is it just an error on their part?

  • 1
    begun just does not work there/ Began or had begun. of course.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 0:23
  • You may think of it as a dialect. In standard English it would be "began." Commented May 26, 2022 at 2:05
  • 1
    I think it's just a typo for 'began'. As it's instagram no-one will have proofread or check-read it.
    – BoldBen
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 6:59
  • 1
    Try not to let yourself get hung up on small grammatical details in online posts.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 21:35
  • People make grammar and spelling errors all the time. Get used to it. Commented May 13, 2023 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Wiktionary notes that "begun" is sometimes used as the simple past of "begin," but it states that this usage is "obsolete or nonstandard."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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