Dove or Dived – what is correct and how to use it

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Irregular verb to Dive: Dived or Dove?

In our database, you can find the irregular verb ‘dive’ and we also prepared this simple image and PDF:

Irregular verb to Dive

This verb has both an irregular and regular form. You can use both and both are correct. Speakers in North America use dove while the British seem to prefer dived.

“Dived” is the traditional past tense and past participle of “to dive,” but “dove” has crept in over the last two centuries — particularly in the US. This is probably a result of the verb “to drive” (with its past tense “drove”) becoming more common.

Historically, dive was a weak verb, so its past tense was divedDove is a relative newcomer, probably formed by analogy with drivedrove or strive–strove.

But which is the most used one, dove or dived? Let´s look at Google Ngram Viewer tool which displays a graph showing how phrases have occurred in a corpus of books over the years.

Dove or Dived – Google Ngram Viewer tool

The irregular pattern for Dive, Dove, Dived

We can group irregular verbs by their pattern. It means that more irregular verbs have the same pattern.

In the case of the verb ‘Dive’ we can see the same pattern with these verbs:

Infinitive Past simple Past participle
Drive Drove Driven
Strive Strove / Strived Striven / Strived
Weave Wove Woven
Speak Spoke Spoken
Ride Rode Ridden

There are many other verbs with the same pattern though.

Learning patterns is a good way how to learn irregular forms.

Examples of the usage `Dove` and `Dived`

Let´s look at the current online media:

  • A BBC weather forecaster has dived into deep snow – [BBC]
  • A little kid ran up six flights of stairs and dove – [BBC]
  • the fish were so dazzled by her beauty that they forgot to swim and gradually dived to the bottom – [BBC]
  • Before I dove into any games – [CNN]
  • with a large dove of peace brooch – [CNN]
  • Some restaurant operators who weren’t interested in delivery before the pandemic dove in once they had to close their doors. – [CNN]

Meaning of Dive

The Oxford Dictionary says `Dive` means „to jump into water with your head and arms going in first”:

  • dive (from/off something) (into something) – We dived into the river to cool off.
  • dive off something – He dived off the bridge.
  • dive in – Sam walked to the deep end of the pool and dived in.

We can find very similar meaning in the Cambridge dictionary means „to jump into water, especially with your head and arms going in first, or to move down under the water”:

  • Look at those children diving for oysters over there!
  • They ran to the pool, dived in, and swam to the other side.
  • Mark dove off the bridge into the river.
  • The submarine dived just in time to avoid the enemy

Synonyms for Dive

  • dip
  • leap
  • plung


More examples irregular verbs

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