Published February 26, 2019
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The ongoing elections have continued to expose the deficiency of many of us as far as the use of English is concerned. From regular users to media personnel, many are providing cause for us to revisit some knotty areas in English grammar, which we have treated one way or the other in this class.
Between Saturday and yesterday ( Monday ) , the handling of a particular word attracted my attention . It is ‘ cast ’, which has suffered a lot abuse at the levels of grammar and pronunciation :
‘The place I casted my vote on Saturday is different from where I did so in 2015 .‘
‘The woman had casted her vote before the hoodlums stormed Ago Palace .‘
If you are not part of those who make such kinds of statements, you must have heard them in recent times – including on radio and television . Each of the expressions harbours an error that you should avoid in writing and speech . Like many other irregular verbs , ‘cast ’ does not need – ed to function in the past tense . Indeed , adding the element to it is a blunder because the present tense is ‘cast ’ and the past tense is still ‘ cast ’ . Of course, the present participle / past participle are ‘has cast ’ and ‘had cast’, respectively. As a result , the correct versions of the above clauses are :
‘The place I cast my vote on Saturday is different from where I did so in 2015 .‘
‘The woman had cast her vote before the hoodlums stormed Ago Palace .‘
Note that, as a verb, ‘cast ’ has other meanings apart from voting . It can mean to choose actors to play particular parts in a play or film :
Genevieve is often cast as a lover.
It can also mean to look quickly at something :
The electoral officer cast an eye on the graph before I submitted it.
Yet, in all the cases , you should treat it as an irregular verb by NOT adding – ed to it.
Forecast , forecasted
There are other verbs whose past tense forms show that they can either be regular or irregular. They include forecast, input, and offset. Their past tense can take – ed ; yet, they are correct when you do not add it:
Last week , the professor forecast that it would rain heavily tomorrow . ( Correct)
Last week, the professor forecasted that it would rain heavily tomorrow . ( Correct)
He inputted the last two numbers before he went home ( Correct)
He input the last two numbers before he went home . (Correct)
Pronouncing ‘cast ’
Whether as a noun or a verb, ‘ cast ’ is pervasively mispronounced. It suffers the fate that fast, mast and last suffer in the sense that the vowel / a : / is a long one that is , however , often wrongly articulated as a short one. The word is supposed to be pronounced like c – AA- st (/ k– st/ ), not cAst . This means you are supposed to drag the / a / sound .
It is the same sound that the letters ‘ar ’ gives you in car, card , card and hard . In other words , the way you will lengthen the / a : / in hard ( h – AA- d ) as against h – A- d (had ), you must establish the fact that what you have in ‘cast ’ is also the long / a : / , not the short one /a / .
I want to c – A- st my vote . (Wrong )
I want to c – AA- st my vote . (Correct)
I have c – As – st my vote . ( Wrong )
I have c – AA- st my vote ( Correct)
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