Spit, spat, spitten

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Jan 31 20:01:34 UTC 2001

>>"Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage" (1989):
>>"The common verb _spit_ has as its past tense and past participle either
>>_spat_ or _spit_.
>But this suggests Beverly is the last hold-out in her use of 'spat'
>as the past/preterite, which is surely false.  I hear both 'spat' and
>'spit' and if anything would vote for the former as more frequent.
>I'd also have guessed that 'spat' is if anything MORE likely to occur
>as the simple past than as the participle, contra the MWDEU.

I think the book is saying both "spit, spat, spat" and "spit, spit, spit"
are usual.

As far as I can tell, it's silent on the possibilities "spit, spat, spit"
and "spit, spit, spat": these must be quite rare, I think, especially the
latter one.

-- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list