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June 2007    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 22, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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You Say "Dove," I Say "Dived"

from the June, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

When you talk about yesterdays underwater adventure, which word do you employ to connote the past tense of dive? Is one more correct than the other? This trivia addict with the soul of a copy editor had to know.

Every dictionary consulted stated that either word is acceptable, as did every website published by a selfanointed grammar expert (and you might be surprised how many English professors spend their spare time this way). However, they agree that dived is the more traditional form.

Some sources noted that in America, dove is most prevalent in the Northeast, while dived is more popular in the West and South. A couple reported that the Britishwho, of course, are always right on matters of culture and classuse dived exclusively. The one authoritative answer came from the Associated Press Stylebook, the bible for hard-news journalism: only dived is acceptable, period.

While Undercurrent prefers to use dived, we use both verbs, as do other dive publications (born out by a glance at their pages as well as editors responses to queries).

I usually edit it based on the context and how it sounds, wrote Ethan Gordon of Fathoms magazine in one typical response. Dove if its the writers voice, and dived if its a more formal piece.

If the issue ever comes up during a surface interval, you can now be the most grammatically correct diver on the boat.

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