Grammar: “I Seen”

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Grammar: “I Seen”

Post by rogerwimmer » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:50 am

Doc: One of my new jocks often says “I seen” when talking on the air. I know this is incorrect grammar. Should I correct him? Thanks in advance. - Anonymous

Anon: The use of “I seen” is definitely incorrect. In fact, there isn’t even one situation in the English language when “I seen” is correct. In every instance, the word “saw” should be used instead of “seen.” For example, “I seen the accident on the highway” is incorrect. The correct phrase is, “I saw the accident on the highway.”

The use of “I seen” has become more common in the past few years and I don’t know why. In your case, I don’t think your listeners expect perfect language and grammar on the radio station, but I do think, from what I have seen in research over the years, that most listeners don’t expect to hear blatant grammatical errors from on-air personalities, and “I seen” is a blatant error.

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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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