Drank vs Drunk

Could someone with a little expertise in the english language please set out the appropriate use of the past tenses of the word “drink”. I’m not any sort of expert, but it’s painful for me to read some of the posts on this board with what appears to me to be butchered grammar. “I drank x” is appropriate. “I have drunk this” and “this wine was drunken” may also be appropriate, but it starts to get a little fuzzy for me here. “the wines drank” seems wrong, unless it’s “wines that we drank”. “Wines that were drunk” seems the appropriate thing, to me, but what do I know.

Can someone enlighten us all? Please?

I drank…

Then I was drunk…

Oh wait… OK, seriously…

" I drank X" is correct when you mean you consumed X and want to indicate a specific instance, i.e. “I drank 2008 Le Moine Gevrey last night with some Buffalo wings” or “I drank some 2007 CdP out of Mag with sushi last Friday.”

“I have drunk X in the past” is the past perfect formulation meaning that you did that in the past, but you’re not indicating a specific instance. “I’ve drunk the Le Moine Gevrey a few times…”

“The wines we drank…” feels like a plural instance of the first example above… “The wines we drank with dinner last Sunday were…” or, alternatively “We drank a bunch of Leflaive with dinner last Sunday…”

“Wines that we have drunk” is, likewise the plural past perfect case - “We have drunk Leflaive a lot this year…”

This site is a good refresher on basic English usage (arcane as that might be these days):


There, their, they’re. Its, it’s. To, too, two. Lose, loose. Less, fewer.

There are so many wines I’d like to drink that they’re becoming a blur. If only there were fewer of them I would be able to drink less, but I’m so loose that I sometimes lose my ability to keep them straight. It’s as though each wine has lost its distinction, especially the ones I have drunk while I was already drunk, and I’m unable to recite their individual characteristics. neener

Guys, I thought I said “someone with a little expertise in the english language”.

Actually, everyone appears relatively correct so far. would that it might carry over to the rest of the board…

Drink is the present tense: Let’s drink all of your DRC.
Drank is the simple past tense: We drank all of your DRC. What should we have now?
Drunk is the past participle, used for the past perfect and present perfect - I had never drunk Romanee-Conti, until I just finished yours, but I have still never drunk Roumier Musigny. Want to open your 1962?

Simply put, use drunk with had or have.

Ready for lie/lay/lain and lay/laid/laid?

A LOT of people on this board use drank – as in “I have drank this wine many times” – when they should use drunk.

A LOT of people in the general public are confused as well. A woman in front of me at the supermarket yesterday said, “I should have went there sooner.” WENT? REALLY? [wow.gif]

That’s because your palette is shot (if you had one to begin with, that is) because of all these variety wines you’ve drank, made of all kind of grape varietals.

Oh, and by the way, once and for all, it’s “the Bordelais”, not “the Bordelaise” (unless you’re correctly referring to a single member of the female sex living in the Bordeaux area).

“Language evolves, man.” Trot that phrase out whenever you screw up and you’ll never have to admit that you’re wrong. Two “evolved” screwups that are common on the net – “Keep your fingers off my camera lense.” “What grape varietals do you grow?” [Guillaume beat me to the second one… keep up the good work!]

Even English teachers these days cannot be bothered to get it right. Apparently many of them never even learned how to diagram sentences. Any teacher of any kind who misuses it’s for its or forms simple plurals with apostophes should be spanked by the principal.

I guess it’s time to go over palate/palette/pallet again too. neener




That was tongue-in-cheek, I say, he was joking, ma’am…

I’m ready for laid.

Yep, and I cringe every time I read it.

Really? I think they should be punished.



“Fill up my cup (Drank!)
Mazel Tov!
Look at her dancin’…”

The one I was never certain of was lit vs. lighted. So I just looked it up and it turns out they’re almost interchangeable! No wonder I was never sure which was correct.

The only difference is that it is only appropriate to use lit to describe someone who had drunk too much and as a consequence is now drunk.

It is not uncommon in English for irregular verbs to become “regularized” (e.g., burnt becomes burned) over the course of time. The rate at which irregular verbs become regularized may be predictable (in a very broad way) from the frequency with which they are used – if a verb is unfamiliar, a speaker will tend to make a regular form (with -ed) for its past tense.

Lighted/Lit is an interesting case. This may be unusual example of an irregular form in the process of replacing (or at least competing with) an originally regular form.

Here’s one for you: past tense of “thrive”. I hear this on nature shows or the news all the time and it seems wrong “The bison once thrived in many states”.

Shouldn’t it be “throve” like drive and drove?