PROVED vs PROVEN

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Proved vs Proven

Many language users mistakenly exchange proven for proved in contexts where they actually needed to have used proved.
This error keeps recurring among many language users.
Let us cease this opportunity to learn how to use both words correctly, however, it is important we learn the meaning and word classes of both words before we proceed with how we can use them correctly in sentences.

Proved: this word is a verb. It is the past and past participle form of prove.

Meaning 1
To demonstrate something is true or viable. Usage; The lady proved that the man is a thief.

Meaning 2
To manifest, or to turn out. Usage; This task proved to be difficult.

Note; The meaning of the word is culled from android soft copy dictionary.

Proven; This word is an adjective.

Meaning;
Having been proved, having proved its value, truth.
Usage; What he said is a proven reality.

Usage of Proved

We use proved in two types of tenses in English;

i. Simple past tense
ii. Perfect tense aspect

Simple past
When we want to demonstrate something is true, viable or give a proof in the past, we use Proved, as it is the past form of Prove.

Usage Examples

i. I proved the man wrong yesterday.

ii. Ibrahim proved the teacher was right last year.

iii. Malaria proved to be a dangerous disease.

Perfect tense aspect
Perfect tense aspect refers to a verb form indicating that an action or state has been completed at the present time, in the past, or will be completed in the future. The perfect tense aspect is characterised by the verbal structure;

has/have/had + past participle form of a verb.
Even though, there are other verbal structures, we will concentrate on this one for the purpose of the current discourse.

A difficulty arise among language users when any form of the auxiliary verb HAVE is used and the verb PROVE is to follow, many think that the past participle form of PROVE is PROVEN as in other irregular forms such as; do – done, write – written etc. The past participle form of PROVE is actually PROVED, this verb is a regular verb. So when we use any form of HAVE, the verb PROVED must follow and not PROVEN.

Usage Examples;

Wrong; My student has *proven me wrong.
Correct; My student has proved me wrong.

Wrong; Nasara has proven to be difficult.
Correct; Nasara has proved to be difficult.

Wrong; We have proven to be good students.

Correct; We have proved to be good students.

It can also be used in the passive voice where the past form of BE is used before it.
So we will have the verbal structure; was/were + proved.

Usage Examples

Wrong; The teacher was proven wrong.
Correct; The teacher was proved wrong.

Wrong; The men were proven to be thieves.
Correct; The men were proved to be thieves.

Usage of Proven

PROVEN is an adjective that is used attributively, that is, it can only be used as a modifier before a noun, but it can not form part of a verb phrase structure.

Usage Examples

a. There are several proven methods of teaching Language.

b. Corruption is a proven enemy to development.

c. It is a proven fact that language teaching must be practicalised.

Note; Under no circumstance should PROVEN be used as part of a verb phrase structure. It is an adjective, and not a verb. It used to be a verb during the middle English period, but per modern and current conventions, it is an adjective.

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