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Don't mix up these commonly confused words

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Apr 10, 2018 5:26:30 AM

Went or gone? Refer or recommend? Here's a quick refresher on how to use these tricky words correctly.

Went vs. Gone

WENT and GONE are both forms of the verb TO GO.

WENT is used in the past tense (also known as the preterit/preterite tense):

  • I knew I needed to study, but I went to the movies instead.
  • Gloria wanted to go to the movies, but she was responsible and went home to study instead.



Simple, right? Yes! But read on.

GONE is used in the present perfect and the past perfect tense (also known as the pluperfect tense):

  • I should have gone home to study, but I went to the movies instead. (Present perfect tense)
  • I thought that all of us had gone to the movies, but later I found out that Gloria had gone home to study. (Past perfect/pluperfect tense)



Generally the mistakes happen when people think they should use WENT when they should use GONE.

  • Gloria should have went to the movies. (INCORRECT)
  • Gloria should have gone to the movies (CORRECT)

  • If Gloria had went to the movies, she probably wouldn't have aced the test. (INCORRECT)
  • If Gloria had gone to the movies, she probably wouldn't have aced the test. (CORRECT)

  • I should have went home to study instead of going to the movies. (INCORRECT)
  • I should have gone home to study instead of going to the movies. (CORRECT)
  • Remember, WENT is past tense only. GONE is present perfect or past perfect only.

Refer vs. Recommend

REFER means to direct someone to someone or something for treatment or information:

  • My doctor referred me to a knee specialist.
  • Can you refer me to an honest mechanic?

RECOMMEND means to endorse someone or something as worthy.

  • Can you recommend a knee specialist?
  • Gloria recommended her mechanic for the job.

What word pairs trip you up? Please share in the comments!

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at

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Apr 12, 2018 11:39 AM ozed    says:

"If Gloria had went to the movies" is clearly wrong and anyone who would use sutch a phrase should not be writing.  But you could have pointed out that removing the "had" would have not only been acceptable but would have improved it.

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May 15, 2018 4:50 AM Artem    says:

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Jun 15, 2018 3:06 AM nivaskumar    says:

Thanks for sharing these words. I will never make a mistake.

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Useful blog post!

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