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Swum vs Swam (Differences: All You Need To Know)

What is the difference between Swum vs Swam?

How do you define these terms?

How do they compare?

You must read this, so keep reading as I have exactly the information that you need!

Let me explain to you what swum and swam mean in simple terms!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Difference Between Swum vs Swam

The terms swum and swam can be quite confusing for many.

Depending on the context, which one is the right one to use?

By reading this post, you will know exactly when to use the term swum vs. swam so you can make the right choice, every single time.

Understanding the difference between these terms will help you not only in your written English but also with your spoken English as well.

To look at the differences between swum and swam, let’s first define each of these terms.

What Is Swum

This word is typically preceded by the auxiliary verb forms of the word have, such as “has”, “have”, or “had”.

What Is Swam

This word is typically used to refer to the action of swimming in the past and is not accompanied by the auxiliary verb forms of the word have, such as “has”, “have”, or “had”.

Main Differences

Both swum and swam are different conjugations of the irregular verb “swim”.

Irregular verbs do not follow the common pattern of adding an “ed” at the end of the word when referring to the past tense (such as work and worked).

Irregular verbs will have their specific term when conjugated.

“Swam” is the conjugation of swim in the past tense whereas “swum” is the conjugation in the past participle.

When you conjugate the verb swim, this is what you have:

  • I swim (present tense)
  • I swam (past tense)
  • I have swum (present perfect tense)
  • I had swum (past perfect tense)

Swum vs Swam Comparison Table

SwumSwam
MeaningTo swim in the past participle To swim in the past tense
Irregular Verb “Swim”Past participlePast tense
Pronunciation/swʌm//swæm/
Auxiliary VerbIs preceded by an auxiliary verb (have, had, has)Is not preceded by an auxiliary verb (have, had, has)
ExampleShe has swum for a long time nowHe swam in the nearby lake
Related WordsBathe
Dive 
Dip
Float
Plunge
Bathe
Dive 
Dip
Float
Plunge

When To Use Swum vs Swam In A Sentence

When should you use the term “swum” or “swam” in a sentence?

Correct Use

Essentially, you should use the term swam when you say that you were swimming in the past tense.

On the other hand, you should use the term swum when you want to conjugate swim in the past participle. 

Typically, the term swum will be accompanied by “have”.

Incorrect Use

Many use the term swimmed to refer to the action of swimming in the past.

This is an incorrect use of the term.

You should avoid using the term swimmed and instead use the proper conjugation of the verb swim. 

Keep in mind that swim is an irregular verb.

Swam vs Swum Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is the difference between swam versus swum?

Which is correct: “I have swum” or “I have swam”?

Essentially, I have swum is the correct use as it is the past participle of “swim”.

I have swam is not the correct use of the verb swim as it mixes up the simple past tense and past perfect tense.

You should use “swum” in the past participle whereas you use swam in the past tense.

I hope you now have a better understanding of the meaning of swum and swam so you can choose the right word in your sentences or in your oral communications.

Good luck with your use of these terms!

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