I am realizing sometimes when talking, I always say:

Oh that guy catched up with me!

But then I realized there is a way to say:

Oh that guy caught up with me!

I may think the grammar of "caught up" is more proper, but I seem to feel that it is a bit strange to say "caught up", whereas "catched up" sounds a bit better...

But I would like to know which is proper grammar. I often use that term and I wonder which is preferred and more efficient to use.

  • 9
    Check a conjugation guide for the verb "to catch". You'll find that "catched" is not present, while "caught" is. Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 0:57
  • 2
    English, being a very eclectic hodgepodge, has a lot of irregular verbs like that. "I call now, and called then"; but "I fall now, and fell then". It even goes further, to what's called "suppletion", where different tenses of the same verb are unrelated words with completely separate etymologycal origins, which is why the past tense of "go" is "went", not "goed". (And it's not just verbs: "father"/"paternal" have a suppletive relationship.) Here is an interesting blog post on the subject: blog.oup.com/2013/01/…
    – John Smith
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 7:54

2 Answers 2


"Caught up" is correct.

I'm not sure "catched" is ever correct. Merriam-Webster lists it as "chiefly dialectal".


Caught is the 'standard' past and past participle of catch now, but it wasn't always the case. The correct past and past participle of catch was catched. The current past and past participle caught, is by analogy with teach/taught.

Analogical change is a type of language change in which some forms are deliberately changed merely to make them look more like other forms (Trask).

Larry Trask—a great linguist—says in his book Trask's Historical Linguistics that the earlier, and 'fully natural' catch/catched has now been ousted by the decidedly less natural catch/caught.

He further says that the speakers who still say catched are regarded by some as rustic or ignorant. He also says that he himself uses catched occasionally.

  • I've expounded on analogy in another answer
    – Void
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 4:24
  • 1
    Yeah but why : "A rare instance of an English strong verb with a French origin. This might have been by influence of Middle English lacchen (see latch (v.)), which also then meant "to catch" and was more or less a synonym of catch (as their noun forms remain), and which then had past tense forms lahte, lauhte, laught." ... because catch was influenced by the French lacchen; past tense: laught.
    – Mazura
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 9:41
  • 1
    @Mazura: Quite possibly. But I checked some reputable and reliable sources that say that caught is due to analogy. (Link fixed... thanks for pointing out. I was typing on phone that's why...)
    – Void
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 11:39
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    According to Google N-grams (books.google.com/ngrams/…), "catched" has at no point in the last 400 years been even a quarter of usages. If it was ever "correct", it was long ago indeed.
    – Xerxes
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 16:06
  • @Xerxes: But I've certainly heard 'catched' used by native English speakers. Some dialects of English still use 'catched' as a past and past participle of 'catch'.
    – Void
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 16:09

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