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Drug left me horrified

by: Garry Pierrepont (25 March 2015)

I was horrified recently to see the word ‘drug’ used as the past participle of the verb ‘to drag’. In my mind, the past tense of to drag should quite clearly be ‘dragged’.

The book was of American origin, Natchez Burning by Greg Iles. It is set in Natchez (evidently) in America’s deep south of Mississippi.

I looked up drag in the dictionary and there was no mention of drug, and the past tense was clearly stated as dragged.

I searched the Internet and found ‘Dragged versus Drug’ by the Grammar Girl. The Grammar Girl is from the US and she admitted using the word drug as the past tense of to drag in a tweet – only to be told by fellow tweeters that the use of the word was wrong.

Her research revealed that drug used in this way was indeed incorrect. Drag is a regular verb the past tense of which should be dragged, but drug is “dialect common to people in the southern United States”.

Greg Iles’s novel is indeed set in that area, but to use the word – as it was – in the narrative (not in speech) was clearly wrong. We can’t get everything right all of the time, especially with what we hear (e.g. dialect).

We won't be entering drug into our UK - US English differences page, however!


Views: 2568

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Comments...

Ref: 160 It's difficult to write an accent especially when there are words unique to a dialect or region. Do you stick with authenticity or write so that others can understand?
Romany - 22:37 25-03-2015
Ref: 159 An example of a dialect word used in the main text - it's wrong of course and can spoil an otherwise well-written book - or tweet!
Marilyn - 20:36 25-03-2015

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