Grew or Grown? Difference Explained (Helpful Examples)

Understanding the past tense forms of particular verbs can be tricky. Especially when looking at irregular verbs like “to grow.” This article will look at the past tense of “grow” and how you can use it correctly in your writing.

Grew or Grown: Which Is Correct?

“Grew” is the simple past tense of “grow,” while “grown” is the past participle. We can use these two verb forms for “grow,” but each one interacts differently with the sentence. “Grew” is correct on its own, but “grown” needs an auxiliary verb before it is correct.

Grew or Grown: Which Is Correct?

You might benefit from reading the differences here:

  • I grew a lot because of the things you said to me.
  • You have grown a great deal since our last encounter.

And remember to learn these forms:

Past ParticipleGrown

When Is “Grew” Correct?

“Grew” is the easiest of the two forms, so we thought we’d start with that.

“Grew” is the simple past tense of “to grow,” which we use to talk about “growing” in the past. We use it with a pronoun (any pronoun will do) to show who or what did the “growing.”

“Grew” only ever talks about past happenings.

The form of “grew” always stays the same as well, no matter what pronoun we use alongside it:

  • I grew
  • He grew
  • They grew
  • We grew

Example Sentences Using “Grew”

The simple past tense needs no further explaining. So, we’ll just treat you to some helpful examples instead:

  1. I grew a lot over the last year.
  2. The plants grew almost three feet in the summer.
  3. They all grew up so much! I can’t handle it.
  4. You grew to become a better man, and I was so proud of you.
  5. I grew up because I needed to, not because I wanted to.
  6. You grew on me when I got to know you better.

“Grew” refers to someone or something “growing” in the past. We use it to think back to the “growing” action without being able to impact the outcome in any way at present.

When Is “Grown” Correct?

Well, “grown” isn’t nearly as simple as “grew,” so you might want to focus on this part.

“Grown” is the past participle of the verb “to grow.” A past participle is never grammatically correct on its own. Instead, we need to include a helping verb like “have” to create the perfect tense. There are three perfect tenses in English.

We can use the past, present, or future perfect tense depending on the context of a sentence. Each one has a different meaning and shows how different things happen at different times.

Incidentally, the form of the past participle “grown” never changes, regardless of the tense we use:

  • Past perfect: Had grown
  • Present perfect: Have grown
  • Future perfect: Will have grown

As you can see, “grown” stays the same. It’s “have” that changes based on the tense we use.

If writing in the past perfect tense, we change “have” to “had” to show that something once happened but is no longer happening.

In the present, we keep “have” in the same form since something is having some kind of impact in the present.

With the future perfect tense, we include “will” alongside “have” to talk about something that will happen in the future.

Example sentences using “Grown”

Since the past participle verb form isn’t as easy as the simple past tense, we need to break this section up. We’ll cover the past, present, and future perfect tenses in this section. Make sure you remember the verb form changes of “have” in each one.

Past Perfect

  1. I had grown up with children half my age before learning that there were people out there like me.
  2. She had grown up thinking that she was better than everyone until she met her superiors.

“Had grown” refers to something “growing” in the past before another event happened. Usually, the past perfect tense creates a timeline for us of how things happened in someone’s past, and sometimes those events can be altered in the present.

Present Perfect

  1. I have grown a lot of plants in my greenhouse if you’d like to take a look.
  2. We have grown old together and seen the entire world!

“Have grown” refers to someone or something “growing” in the past. However, that event is continuing or finishing in the present (or it just finished a few seconds ago). The present perfect tense works best for these cases.

Future Perfect

  1. I will have grown by the time she sees me again, and I hope I’m a better fit for her.
  2. You will have grown a lot by this time next year, so keep looking forward to that.

“Will have grown” refers to someone “growing” in the future. We often use it to refer to future scenarios that are likely or guaranteed to happen. However, there are sometimes cases where our actions in the present can affect the likelihood of the outcome.

“Have Grew” Vs. “Have Grown”

It’s clear that “have grown” is the present perfect tense. We’ve mentioned it throughout the article, and hopefully, you understand now why we do it. However, can we also place an auxiliary verb next to the simple past tense?

“Have grew” is not correct, and we are not able to use it in this way. There are no grammatical circumstances where an auxiliary verb like “have” can work alongside the simple past tense of “grew.” Only the past participle can be used in this way.

So, make sure you only stick to the past participle when using it. Here are some final examples to help you remember that:

  • Correct: I have grown a lot since we last met!
  • Incorrect: You have grew to love her, and that’s all I can ask for.

Final Thoughts

“Grew” is the simple past tense, which we can only use with a pronoun and no other verbs. “Grown” is the past participle, which only works with another verb present (like “have”). We must remember this when using any of the perfect tense forms (past, present, or future).

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