“Dived” vs. “Dove”: Dive Into The Difference

You just jumped into water. You dove right in. Or is it dived?

In this article, we’ll dive into the differences between dived and dove, explain how and when they’re used, and even cover correct past tense for compound verbs like skydive and nosedive.

Quick summary

Both dived and dove are considered standard past tense forms of the verb dive, as in I dove/dived into the pool (dove is more common in the US, while dived is more common in the UK and some other places). However, only dived is considered the standard form of the past participle of dive, as in I have dived in this lake before. Compound verbs that use dive, such as skydive or nosedive, typically use dived in their past tense forms and past participles, as in I skydived for the first time on Saturday or Our sales have nosedived.

dived vs. dove

Dived and dove are both considered standard past tense forms of the verb dive.

For example, both of the following sentences are considered correct:

  • She dove off of the cliff and into the water.
  • She dived off of the cliff and into the water.

Dived is the older form, follows the pattern used for regular verbs, and is more commonly used in the UK and some other places. Dove is a newer, irregular form that is more common in the US.

However, only dived is considered standard as the past participle of dive, which means it is the form used when forming the perfect verb tenses.

For example:

  • He has dived for pearls many times before.

There are a few compound verbs that include the word dive, such as nosedive, skydive, and swan-dive. These verbs are typically conjugated in the past tense and past participle as if they were regular verbs—as nosedived, skydived, and swan-dived.

Some grammar resources may consider nosedove, skydove, and swan-dove as acceptable forms (and very fun to say, especially in the case of nosedove), but these words are typically considered nonstandard.

Similar verbs

As the past tense of dive, the word dove most likely developed due to the influence of irregular verbs that switch an I to an O when used in the past tense. Some examples of irregular verbs that follow this pattern include drive (drove), strive (strove), and ride (rode).

Examples of dived and dove used in a sentence

Let’s explore a variety of example sentences that show how dove and dived are typically used.

  • I was so scared that I dove/dived under the covers.
  • Both players dove/dived for the loose ball.
  • The pod of whales had already dived underwater before I could get out my camera.
  • Have you ever skydived?
  • The plane nosedived before the pilot could get it back under control.

See how much you have learned with our quiz

Feeling confident about how much you’ve delved into and reviewed these past tense forms? If so, show off your skills by taking our quiz on these forms of the verb dive. You may surprise yourself with what you’ve learned!

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