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When the soldiers awoke, it was a bright day.

Can I replace ‘awoke’ by ‘woke’ and why?

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3 Answers 3

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The verb "to wake" can be transitive or intransitive.

I woke the soldiers at daybreak.
When the soldiers woke, it was a bright day.

The verb "to awake" is always intransitive.

When the soldiers awoke, it was a bright day.

There is a difference in the usage of present participle.

I am awake.
I am wake.

Also there can be a shade of difference in their meaning. The verb "to awake" can be used in the case of a life event, such as

My awakening as an adult occurred at the summer camp.

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  • However, there a further verb awaken, which can be transitive: "His television series awakened popular interest in American architecture."
    – djna
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 10:10
  • @djna good point, I have also extended the answer. Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 10:11
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You can replace "awoke" with "woke". The reason is that they are the past participles of the verbs "awake" and "wake", which have identical meanings.

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I found this article very interesting. It seems that there are actually three different verb forms, with a complex relationship in history, and very similar meanings.

So we have wake, awake and awaken as three different verbs with very similar meanings. We can say:

I woke
I awoke
I awakened

and all three mean more or less the same thing.

There is the additional potential confusion of awake also being used as a peculiar sort of adjective that is not used with a noun!

In everyday usage I would suggest avoiding awoke and awakened

I woke early this morning.

is quite a normal sentence. The use of awoke or awakened sounds a little archaic or poetic. We might see those forms used in literary works, but in everyday speech they would more often be used in a playful way, pretending to a level of self-importance.

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