Two kids are playing a game. Right after the game is over one of them shouts happily:

"I won! I won!"

or should he better say "I win! I win!"


As a celebration of winning a game just played, the use of I win is grammatical and probably "more appropriate."

It is common in this context (of right after the game is over) for native speakers to say I win or we win or you win; in this case the act of winning is seen as being in the present.

But since the game play is actually over, I won is also grammatically correct.

The window of time does not last long to say I win in respect to a game just played. Like you said, it has to be right after the game. A person can be in the act of winning only so long. When you pick up the game pieces to start a new round, that moment is pretty much past.

Another use of the present is I win every time we play this game. In this case the present simple describes an ongoing habit. So a person can say this before, during or after a game.

  • 1
    Yes. You can think of it as, the game that we are just now completing, or as the game that we just completed a few seconds ago. Exactly when is the game over? Is it over when the winning point was scored? Or is it over when we put the pieces back in the box, or when all the spectators leave the arena, etc? – Jay Dec 11 '15 at 16:17
  • Also, one might say "I win" while in the act of, or perhaps even immediately before, the finishing play (i.e. the last move performed by the player within the game's rules that cause them to win). Some games actually require specific wording instead of "I win/won", though, such as "checkmate" in chess. Casually speaking, I think most adults would actually prefer the word "won" immediately after the completion of a game. Ngrams also suggests that "I won" is more widely used than "I win." – phyrfox Dec 11 '15 at 22:08
  • 1
    Yes. I'm reminded of: The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!. – J.R. Dec 11 '15 at 22:12
  • Btw they're definitely both grammatically correct, and they'd both be grammatically correct even if the speaker lost. The issue is whether or not they're both true/applicable (they are). – Steve Jessop Dec 11 '15 at 23:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.