Shaken or Shook: Which Is Correct? (Helpful Examples)

The past tense of “shake” can be tricky at first glance. Once you’ve read through this article, you’ll have a better understanding of it. We need to understand the difference between “shaken” and “shook,” though, as they are both the past tense (to a degree).

Shaken or Shook: Which Is Correct?

“Shook” is the simple past tense of “shake,” which we use with a pronoun to talk about “shaking” in the past. “Shaken” is the past participle, which requires an auxiliary verb before we can get it to work in a sentence. It creates a tense known as the perfect tense.

Shaken or Shook: Which Is Correct?

To help you understand a bit more about them right now, you can look at these examples:

  • You shook the nest, which caused the wasps to go everywhere.
  • I have shaken your drink for you, sir. I hope it’s up to scratch.

“Shook” is the simple past tense. It doesn’t require any extra verb forms or grammar rules. We simply use it as “shook” to talk about “shaking ” in the past.

“Shaken” is the past participle, and we use the auxiliary verb “have” in the above example to turn it into the present perfect tense. This is used to talk about “shaking” in the past, which we’re either continuing or finishing in the present.

Remember these verb tenses:

VerbShake
PastShook
Past ParticipleShaken
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When Is “Shook” Correct?

“Shook” is the easier of the two to understand. We only ever need a pronoun to accompany it when we want to use it.

“Shook” refers to “shaking” something in the past. The event of “shaking” has already happened, and there is nothing in the present that can change it now.

The pronoun choice doesn’t matter. The only reason we might use different pronouns is due to the context of our sentence over anything else:

  • It shook
  • I shook
  • We shook
  • He shook

All of these (and more) are correct to use with “shook.

Example Sentences Using “Shook”

We’ll show you how “shook” looks in action now. From these examples, you can start using “shook” yourself.

  1. You shook the bed in your sleep last night, and it kept me awake.
  2. We shook ourselves out of the duvet!
  3. He shook the hornets’ nest, which was a really stupid thing to do.
  4. It shook the earth like an entire earthquake!
  5. Don’t worry if you shook too much in the cold weather yesterday.
  6. My entire body shook with fear when I saw what was coming for me!

“Shook” refers to the act of “shaking” in the past. There is nothing in the present that can change what happened.

When Is “Shaken” Correct?

“Shaken” allows us a chance to change the past based on our actions in the present. Of course, on its own, it’s useless to us. It doesn’t work in a sentence without help.

  • I shaken
  • We shaken

These examples are not correct. A pronoun isn’t the only thing we need here.

“Shaken” is the past participle of “shake.” It requires an auxiliary verb like “have” to turn it into one of three present tenses (past, present, and future). The verb tense of “shaken” remains the same, but “have” will change tense based on the perfect tense used.

To show you what we mean, look at the tenses below:

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

“Shaken” is uniform. It stays the same no matter the tense. However, “have” changes based on the tense used.

“Had” is the past perfect tense. We use it to talk about certain happenings in the past that might still impact the present in some way.

“Have” is the present perfect tense. It works by talking about someone or something “shaking” in the past. However, it adds to the past tense by showing that the thing is still shaking or has just finished shaking in the present.

The future perfect tense uses both “will” and “have.” This works by introducing an idea or thing that might happen in the future. However, that thing is entirely based on the actions we take in the present.

Example sentences using “Shaken”

We’ll break these examples into sections for each perfect tense.

Past Perfect

  1. We had shaken as much of it out as we could, but there’s still plenty left in there now!
  2. They had shaken the nest one too many times, and they paid the price for it.

“Had shaken” is the past perfect tense. We use it to talk about doing something in the past. Even though the “shaking” event is over, it still has some kind of effect on us at present.

Present Perfect

  1. I have shaken every time that I’ve met him, but next time I’ll make sure it’s different.
  2. We have shaken the bed, but we still can’t find the bugs that he complained about!

“Have shaken” is the present perfect tense. It is the most common perfect tense and refers to an event that happened in the past (even if it was only a few seconds ago). The “shaking” action is either continuing or finishing in the present.

Future Perfect

  1. We will have shaken down everyone in the city if we keep up this act!
  2. You will have shaken the hornets’ nest with that attitude, so I suggest you be more careful!

“Will have shaken” is the future perfect tense. It talks about something “shaking” in the future, but there’s something we might be doing in the present to lead to that thing “shaking” in some way.

“Have Shaken” Vs. “Have Shook”

“Have shaken” is correct because “shaken” requires the auxiliary verb “have” to make any grammatical sense. “Have shook” is never right since “shook” is the simple past tense and requires no extra verbs or assistance.

Final Thoughts

“Shook” is simple, and we use it to talk about things “shaking” in the past. We need to use auxiliary verbs with the past participle “shaken,” so make sure you understand the “had,” “have,” and “will have” tenses. “Shaken” helps us to create the perfect tense.

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