Sunday, December 12, 2010

Boughten

I noticed it a few years ago. My children, and their friends, would say things like, "I had boughten the coat last week."

Boughten. Used as the past tense of bought, which was already the past tense of buy.

I tried to correct my children but it didn't stick. They kept using the word over, and over, and over again.

Then, just the other day, a woman my age told me that I should go to a particular store because it was there that she "had boughten a wonderful gift" for one of her friends.

I sincerely hope the shock did not show on my face. I had assumed that the use of boughten was a kid thing, a way to differentiate them from the dull grown-up world.

I finished my conversation, and then rushed home to do a little research. Could boughten be a word? Could I have been wrong all these years.

With a pounding heart I turned my computer on and went to dictionary.com. With trembling fingers I typed in the letters that had offended me for so many years, b-o-u-g-h-t-e-n. Closing my eyes I hit the enter key, hoping and praying that I would see the words "no dictionary results" when I reopened them.

No such luck. I gulped, forseeing apologies to my children and years of being reminded of my mistake. My credibility was shot.

Or so I thought, until I took a look at the definitions listed.

I smiled. My credibility was safe. Even though the word was real, it was being used incorrectly. It was an adjective, not a verb. It most certainly was not the past tense of bought, or buy, or will go shopping.

Of course, I may not be safe for long. Languages are always evolving.

I guess I should have googled it sooner and facebooked the results to all my friends.

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