Strived or Strove – what is correct and how to use it

In our database, you can find the irregular verb ‘strive’ in these forms:

Irregular verb Strive

It has both an irregular and regular form. You can use both and both are correct.

But which is the most used one? 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.

Graph strived, strove and striven

Even though ‘strived’ is both past simple and past participle, past simple form ‘strove’ and past participle form ‘striven’ are used more often. Nowadays the difference is minimum.

The irregular pattern for Strive, Strove, Striven

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

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

Infinitive Past simple Past participle
Strive Strove Striven
Give Gave Given
Drive Drove Driven
Eat Ate Eaten
Break Broke Broken
Ride Rode Ridden

There are many other verbs with the same pattern though.

Learning patterns is a good way how to learn the conjugation of irregular verbs.

Examples of the usage of the verb Strive

Let´s look at the current online media:

  • It added it was “deeply upsetting” and said the school strove for better. – [BBC]
  • doctor who has served six presidents and always strove to avoid the taint of partisanship. – [CNN]
  • Trump has striven to improve relations between Washington and Moscow during his time in office… – [CNN]
  • Several agencies have strived to level Lady Justice’s scales. – [CNN]
  • Divers recover World War Two Highball bomb from Loch Striven – [BBC]
  • Killed PC Dave Phillips ‘strived for the perfect life’ – [BBC]

What does Strive mean

The Oxford Dictionary says Strive means “​to try very hard to achieve something”:

  • strive for something We encourage all members to strive for the highest standards.
  • strive after/towards something They were always striving towards perfection.
  • strive against something striving against corruption
  • strive to do something Newspaper editors all strive to be first with a story.
  • She strove to find a solution that was acceptable to all.

We can find very similar meaning in the Cambridge dictionary: “to try very hard to do something or to make something happen, especially for a long time or against difficulties:”

Synonyms for ‘strive’

  • attempt
  • endeavour
  • try
  • aim
  • seek