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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
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    #1

    Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    Can someone explain , in grammatical terms, why it is correct to say "well run" to someone after the end of a race and not "well ran". I know the first is correct but need to explain why it is. Any help appreciated.

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    #2

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    Hi, and welcome.
    I think the 'grammatical' explanation is that "well run" doesn't follow the usual practice; it is an exception to the rule.

    We say things like 'a well-built car', 'a well-handled problem' and 'a well-balanced meal'.
    But we say 'a well-run (company)(business)(school)' and 'a well-run race', and there probably are other examples. (Of course we would say 'You ran (the race) very well.' and 'They ran the company very well.')

    So while we usually say "well" followed the past tense verb, in some cases we say "well" followed by the present tense verb.[/quote]
    Last edited by 2006; 14-Jun-2008 at 20:33.


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    #3

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    I'd say that this follows the normal pattern of choosing adjectives, not from the past tense form but from the past participle form.

    run - ran - run

    build - built - built

    choose - chose - chosen

    well-chosen words

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I'd say that this follows the normal pattern of choosing adjectives, not from the past tense form but from the past participle form.

    run - ran - run

    build - built - built

    choose - chose - chosen

    well-chosen words
    Thankyou for that riverkid.


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    #5

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    Thank you to all. Very helpful. I know it looks wrong but explaining why was the problem.


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    #6

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    You're most welcome, Bahaisahab.

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    #7

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I'd say that this follows the normal pattern of choosing adjectives, not from the past tense form but from the past participle form.

    run - ran - run

    build - built - built

    choose - chose - chosen

    well-chosen words
    Of course you are correct. My answer was off the mark. For some reason I got hung up on present and past tenses and ignored the fact that the past participle is the adjective form of the verb.


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    #8

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Of course you are correct. My answer was off the mark. For some reason I got hung up on present and past tenses and ignored the fact that the past participle is the adjective form of the verb.
    No shame in that, 2006. This stuff is rocket science and we all can get mightily confused by the intricacies of language. I noticed that a lot of folks hung back on this one, myself included. I applaud your effort. You, as much as anyone, was responsible for finding the answer. I just got to type it out.

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    #9

    Re: Why say "well run!" not "well ran"

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    No shame in that, 2006. This stuff is rocket science and we all can get mightily confused by the intricacies of language. I noticed that a lot of folks hung back on this one, myself included. I applaud your effort. You, as much as anyone, was responsible for finding the answer. I just got to type it out.
    You're too generous. But thanks.

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