Ran or Run? Another Irregular Verb with Annoying Misuses


English possesses curious quirks that often trap its users. A very common example involves confusion when choosing ran or run.

Should it be ran or run? It looks like such a simple question. But English can be anything but simple.

There are several verbs like see and run that take irregular forms depending on the tense. A while back, I wrote about the problems with see. People confuse the past and past participle forms — saw and seen, respectively — to come up with horrible sentences like, “That was the last time I seen her.”

My Grammarly plugin just freaked out when I typed the word seen instead of the correct word, saw.

I hear that mistake all the time.

I hear similar mistakes with the verb run.

The other day in the newsroom, I heard someone tell a producer, “I know we have ran that story before.”

No. She knows we have run that story before.

Know your tense!

The present tense of the verb run is run:

Ty will run a 5K in June.

I’m going to run to the store.

In the first example, I wish Ty all the luck in the world. I wouldn’t run a 5K unless a really big, hungry animal was chasing me.

In the second example, as you might guess, when I say run, I mean drive. But I digress.

The past tense of run is ran:

Sheila ran three laps around the park.

I ran a long list of errands this morning.

As in the first set of examples, anytime I can say I ran a long list of errands, actual running was probably not involved.

The past participle form of run is run, not ran. You use the past participle form when you add a helping verb like have or has.

We have run that story before.

Ty had run three 5K races before this year’s event was scheduled.

You’d never say “has ran” or “have ran,” since the has or have indicates you need the past participle version, run.

I have run out of patience with people who continually choose the wrong form!

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.