While talking with my friend, I came to an awkward sentence:

I never drunk.

Is it right? I think drank should come. I'd like to know what form of verb should be used with never?


Insertion of never doesn't change the choice of form in this case:

I drank.
I never drank.

The same is true for other forms of drink. Compare:

I drink coffee.
I never drink coffee.

I have drunk coffee.
I have never drunk coffee.

Drink is a bit of an odd word, historically. For a time, it was fashionable to avoid association with drunkenness by saying drank when drunk was more appropriate. In today's English, this is considered non-standard, and you should avoid making this error yourself--but in some dialects (such as mine!) the form have drank is still preferred, so you may come across it once in a while.

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  • 1
    Also see slang nouns drank and purple drank – James Waldby - jwpat7 Mar 17 '13 at 16:53
  • If we are speaking about alcohol, for me there is a difference between saying, "I never drank" and "I have never been drunk". The first implies you have never had a sip of alcohol in your life, and in the second, you can say you have had alcohol, but you have never been in a state of drunkenness. – Trish Rempel Mar 18 '13 at 17:40
  • @TrishRempel That's a good point. I feel this is best explained by saying there are two words spelled "drunk": one is the past participle of "to drink", and the other is an adjective derived from the past participle. This adjective has taken on a new meaning ("strongly intoxicated"). "Drunken" is another form of this adjective. – snailplane Mar 18 '13 at 17:47

Not sure I'm adding anything very useful here but

I never drunk

might be heard in certain English accents in certain parts of the world. Here are two examples:

So it wouldn't be appropriate in a job interview in London (for all kinds of reasons) but you might use it if you wanted to sound natural in a pub in Belfast :-).

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People are now starting to say "I never drunk."

This sounds wrong to me. However language is defined by its usage, so if enough people say, "I never drunk," then "I never drunk" it is, like it or not :-(

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You would say "drank" because it is the past tense, which is the way it should be said for this sentence. That is, if I'm reading the context correctly.
"Drunk" is the past participle- which you could use, but not when saying **

"I never drunk"

**. You could use past participle if you put in a "had" or a "have".
In short,

"I never drank"

would be correct. For more information, see this.

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