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    #1

    Drunk vs drunken

    As a foreigner, I always get quite confused when I read/hear the expression "drunken driver" because I understood expressions like these call for the past participle of a verb; i.e. “missed appointment”, “closed case”, etc. If I recall correctly the past participle of "to drink" is "drunk". I don't see the word drunken as a proper conjugation on the list of verbs I was given to memorize when I was learning English. If I were to guess, I would say that “drunken” is being used erroneously but before making any right or wrong assumptions, I would like to know the opinion of an English teacher/expert in this matter.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Drunk vs drunken

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa.Usven View Post
    As a foreigner, I always get quite confused when I read/hear the expression "drunken driver" because I understood expressions like these call for the past participle of a verb; i.e. “missed appointment”, “closed case”, etc. If I recall correctly the past participle of "to drink" is "drunk". I don't see the word drunken as a proper conjugation on the list of verbs I was given to memorize when I was learning English. If I were to guess, I would say that “drunken” is being used erroneously but before making any right or wrong assumptions, I would like to know the opinion of an English teacher/expert in this matter.
    Have a look here: Definition of drunken adjective from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus

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    #3

    Re: Drunk vs drunken

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa.Usven View Post
    As a foreigner, I always get quite confused when I read/hear the expression "drunken driver" because I understood expressions like these call for the past participle of a verb; i.e. “missed appointment”, “closed case”, etc. If I recall correctly the past participle of "to drink" is "drunk". I don't see the word drunken as a proper conjugation on the list of verbs I was given to memorize when I was learning English. If I were to guess, I would say that “drunken” is being used erroneously but before making any right or wrong assumptions, I would like to know the opinion of an English teacher/expert in this matter.

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Here in the United States, the media (newspapers, TV stations, etc.) usually refer

    to the crime of "drunk driving" and to the people as "drunk drivers."

    (2) I notice that our British friends refer to the crime as "drink driving." I do not

    know how they refer to the drivers.

  2. suprunp's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Drunk vs drunken

    NOT A TEACHER

    New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition.

    Anyone who is obviously or legally under the influence of
    alcohol is said to be drunk.
    Drunken means the same thing, but only drunk should be
    used predicatively - that is, after a linking verb (she was drunk) -
    while drunken is more often used to modify a noun (a drunken sailor) and,
    in some cases, to imply habitual drinking to excess. Drunken is also used
    to modify nouns that do not refer to a person (a drunken celebration).

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Drunk vs drunken

    You'll find signs of these pairs of past participles in various other cases; 'proved'/'proven' say. 'Proven' is chiefly used attributively: 'a proven case/treatment/success...'. The two forms existed, and usage has tended to favour the one in a certain position.

    In old texts you'll find these 'en' participles used predicatively. The Christmas Carol Ding dong merrily on high says 'Let steeple bells be swungen. And IO-IO-IO by priest and people [U]sungen[/U']. The words 'swungen' and 'sungen' no longer exist.

    b

    PS In regional dialects, these extra participles persist. I had a friend who used to talk about a 'boughten cake' (rather than a home-made one).
    PPS I've just posted a (totally unrelated, but maybe interesting) teaching resource on a different sort of '-en' verb at http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resour...tives-6094016/
    Last edited by BobK; 05-Jul-2011 at 13:10. Reason: PSs Added

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    #6

    Re: Drunk vs drunken

    Welcome to the forum, Lisa.

    You could also look at the Similar Threads at the bottom of the page.

    Rover

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