Ridden or Rode: Which Is Correct? (Helpful Examples)

The past tense is a fickle thing, especially when working with irregular verbs like “ride.” The past tense of “ride” is complicated, and this article will look into how to use the simple past tense and the past participle form to help you understand it better.

Ridden or Rode: Which Is Correct?

“Ridden” is the past participle of “ride,” which we use with an auxiliary verb to create one of three perfect tenses. “Rode” is the simple past tense of “ride,” which requires no extra verbs and works with a pronoun to talk about “riding” in the past.

Ridden or Rode: Which Is Correct?

The key differences come down to whether you use an auxiliary verb or not. In the case of “ridden,” you’ll more than likely use “have” as the auxiliary verb. You can see that in the following examples:

  • I rode a horse last week.
  • We have ridden this train plenty of times before.

“Rode” is the simple past tense and only needs a pronoun before it to work.

On the flip side, “ridden” requires an auxiliary like “have” to help it work. In this case, “have ridden” becomes the present perfect tense, which is one of three possible perfect tenses we can use in our writing.

The other two perfect tenses are far less common, but we’ll get to them a little later.

VerbRide
PastRode
Past ParticipleRidden
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When Is “Rode” Correct?

“Rode” is much easier to understand, so we’ll explain it first.

“Rode” is the simple past tense. We use it when talking about riding something in the past. The event of our riding has occurred previously, and there’s nothing we can do in the present to change that.

We mostly use the simple past tense when recounting past experiences and talking about things we’ve done before.

We use “simple” in the name because it doesn’t require any extra grammatical variables to make sense.

Example Sentences Using “Rode”

While “ride” isn’t necessarily a common verb, it still helps to see it used. These examples will show you how “rode” works in a sentence.

  1. I rode the train late last night.
  2. We rode a horse across the countryside together.
  3. She rode her donkey even though it was too small to carry her.
  4. I rode into town with what little money I had left.
  5. They rode here together, though I’m not sure whether they used their own horses.
  6. She rode on a wagon, which I thought was incredibly archaic.

“Rode” works when talking about riding something in the past. It’s no longer common to use “ride” as a verb, but we can do so in the past tense with “rode.”

When Is “Ridden” Correct?

“Ridden” is where things get tricky, and it highlights the irregularity of the verb form “to ride.”

“Ridden” is the past participle of “ride.” When writing it in sentences, we have to use it with an auxiliary verb to turn it into either the past, present, or future perfect tenses.

“Ridden” often means that we’ve started riding in the past, and we’re continuing to do so or have just finished doing so in the present. The three perfect tenses are as follows:

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

The past perfect uses “had” as the auxiliary verb. It works when talking about riding something in the past. Even though the event has been around already, there is still a chance that it could impact the present.

The present perfect is very common and uses “have” as the auxiliary verb. It means we’ve started riding previously, and we’re continuing to do so or just finishing up the riding in the present.

The future perfect tense uses two auxiliary verbs, both “will” and “have.” In this case, we might be riding something in the future, but it’s based on our actions and whether certain things in the present occur.

Example sentences using “Ridden”

We’ll split each perfect tense into its own section so you can understand how they look.

Past Perfect

  1. I had ridden my bike a lot growing up, but I dare not do it anymore.
  2. We had ridden this horse before, but we can’t trust it now.

“Had ridden” is the past perfect tense. We use it in this way to talk about riding something in the past, but somehow it is affecting our decisions or choices to do something in the present.

Present Perfect

  1. I have ridden this horse myself, and I can assure you that she’s up to the task.
  2. We have ridden in on our bikes, and we’d like to see your finest wares.

“Have ridden” is the present perfect tense. The present perfect tense allows us to ride in the past, and continue to do so or finish the task in the present. Sometimes, the action carried out in the present perfect tense might have ended only a few seconds prior to writing it.

Future Perfect

  1. I will have ridden this bike many times more than I thought I would if I went out with you on it today.
  2. She will have ridden her horse one last time before he passes away, and I’ll make sure of that.

“Will have ridden” is the future perfect tense. We use it to talk about future events that may occur, but their outcome is entirely dependent on what we do in the present and how we might be able to affect it.

“Have Ridden” Vs. “Have Rode”

“Have ridden” is correct because the past participle (ridden) requires an auxiliary verb (have). When written this way in a sentence, “have ridden” is the right choice. “Have rode” is wrong as “rode” is the simple past tense, which needs no auxiliary verbs to make sense.

Final Thoughts

We’ve seen that “rode” is the simple past tense and “ridden” is the past participle. Both forms are used in different ways, and it helps to understand how the auxiliary verb “have” impacts the past participle when we use it in our own writing.

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