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Many websites use the phrase 'Forgot password?' when prompting users to renew their login passwords. Is this correct usage or should it be 'Forgotten password?'.

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    Whenever I see 'Forgot password?' on a website I always answer in my head: "No, I have not forgot my password, I have forgotten my password" – Phil Peace Aug 13 '10 at 14:53
  • But can't that be fixed? Forgot your password? and Have you forgotten your password? – mplungjan Mar 7 '11 at 10:35
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    It doesn't need to be fixed and, in fact, is better than forgotten password, which reads as an adj + noun phrase instead of a question. – lly Apr 9 '17 at 18:30
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Both are acceptable depending on the context.

"Forgot password" could simply be an informal (shortened) way of saying "I forgot my password." We commonly miss out pronouns to be succinct. In this case, the words form a statement.

Similarly, "Forgot password" could be a shortened form of the question "Have you forgotten your password?".

"Forgotten password" uses the gerundive (Attributive Verb), and thus is also perfectly fine, in that the page is directing the user to their forgotten password. Here, the words form a noun phrase.

  • Arigatou for the explanation Noldorin :) – shramee Jun 25 '18 at 3:59
  • @shramee No problem. :) – Noldorin Jun 25 '18 at 12:47
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Awesome question.

Forgot password?

This is short for "You forgot your password?" which is simple past which specifies something that happened at a specific time in the past, namely, right when you came to the site, it was then that you "realized you forgot your password".

Forgotten password?

This is short for "Have you forgotten your password?" which is present perfect which means starting at some point in the past and continuing up to and including the present.

So technically the second is correct if you are describing the psychological act of forgetting. But it sounds odd since the question is really asking, "Did you just try to remember your password and you forgot it at that moment?"

So my vote is for "Forgot your password?

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    "Our" sounds patronizing to me. Unless it's a typo; my vote would go to "Forgot your password?". – Thomas Aug 13 '10 at 9:53
  • @Thomas – The whole “Forgot your password?” thing is patronizing; might as well go whole hog and have something like “Oh dear, have we forgotten our password?” pop up after a failed authentication attempt. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 18 '12 at 18:10
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The past participle of to forget is forgotten or forgot, in the same way the past participle of to get is gotten or got.
In my experience, forgotten as in forgotten password is seen as an adjective; Forgot password? is understood as Have you forgot your password?

  • Yep. Forgotten password + link reads as "click here to see a forgotten password". The other way is much better. – lly Apr 9 '17 at 18:29
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Yep! By itself, without other context, ("forgotten password"), I'd be reading "forgotten" as a participle (a verb form used as an adjective, describing the noun "password"). reference: more participle info.

In a different context ("Have you forgotten your password?"), the same word becomes part of the verb phrase ("have forgotten"), which tells what the "you" did. No longer does it describe "password"; now "Have...forgotten" is the verb (what you did), and "password" is the direct object of that verb (the thing you forgot). reference: more direct object info.

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It is not wrong to use "Forgot Password" but there must be a question mark at the end. So the correct form is one of the following.

Forgot password?

Forgot your password?

Google, for example, does it correctly.

screenshot

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