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Thread: Dare vs. Dared

  1. #1
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    Dare vs. Dared

    Writing in first-person, past tense. The female MC is fuming over something the male MC did, but I'm having a total brain fart and can't tell which it should be:

    How dare he return after so long? How dare he kiss me like that, only to regret it?

    Vs:

    How dared he return after so long? How dared he kiss me like that, only to regret it?


    It's part of the narration, not italicized thoughts, if that makes a difference. I keep thinking it should be "dare," because that sounds better, but then I think, "dared" is past tense, right?

  2. #2
    It's too hot to play. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    dare

    You could add "could he" before each dare. How could he even dare to return after so long? How could he dare to kiss me . . ."



  3. #3
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I believe "dare" is typical (and reads more smoothly), but I don't see anything grammatically wrong with either. JMO
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  4. #4
    That hairy-handed gent
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    Dare.

    caw
    "Badger! Badger! The weasels have stolen my motor-car!"

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  5. #5
    resident curmudgeon
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    Dare. Dared is gramatically incorrect, and also sounds really silly.

  6. #6
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    The consensus has spoken: dare it is.

  7. #7
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Talking

    How dared dare you!
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  8. #8
    Every chase begins with... Chase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orianna2000 View Post
    The consensus has spoken.
    Been there, done that. We all have looked at alternatives until they blend into something meaningless. To help is what fellow writers are for. Well, that and to point and laugh.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Orianna2000 View Post
    Writing in first-person, past tense. The female MC is fuming over something the male MC did, but I'm having a total brain fart and can't tell which it should be:
    How dare he return after so long? How dare he kiss me like that, only to regret it?
    Vs:
    How dared he return after so long? How dared he kiss me like that, only to regret it?
    It's part of the narration, not italicized thoughts, if that makes a difference. I keep thinking it should be "dare," because that sounds better, but then I think, "dared" is past tense, right?
    That "dare" in your example seems to be behaving like an auxiliary verb, maybe.

    I think there are perhaps two different words:
    1) the modal auxiliary DARE,
    2) the lexical verb DARE.
    .
    In your example, perhaps that verb "dare" is behaving as an auxiliary verb (due to the subject-aux inversion?). And if so, then perhaps both versions might be grammatical -- which at first blush is surprising to me; but then the modal auxiliary DARE is supposedly rare for AmE, and the modal auxiliary DARE is supposedly restricted to non-affirmative contexts. But this issue of modal auxiliary DARE vs lexical verb DARE seems to be rather confusing, and I'm not all that familiar with it.
    .
    When I first read the OP's post, I first thought the 1st version to be the good version. But now, after having looked a bit into this issue and finding out that there is a past-tense form of the modal auxiliary DARE ('dared'), I'm kinda getting confused and am entertaining the possibility that both versions are grammatical--one for present-tense and the other for past tense, where both are using the modal auxiliary DARE. But I'm not sure. ...
    .
    So, buyer beware and all that.

  10. #10
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Dare. But only because you've shifted into present tense for those sentences.
    Last edited by BethS; 11-11-2012 at 08:00 AM. Reason: misread the sentence.

  11. #11
    A little more on this modal auxiliary verb DARE,

    I consider myself an AmE speaker, and so, that the modal auxiliary past-tense form "dared" doesn't sound quite right to my ear might be reasonable. But I'll try to work through that.

    Note: In all examples, the auxiliary verbs will be underlined.

    So let me first compare [modal] auxiliary DARE to the [modal] auxiliary WILL.

    First the [modal] auxiliary WILL. Some present-tense examples:
    AW1. He will return after all that.
    AW2. Will he return after all that?
    AW3. How will he return after all that?

    Some past-tense examples using aux WILL:
    AW4. He would return after all that.
    AW5. Would he return after all that?
    AW6. How would he return after all that?
    .
    Now for [modal] auxiliary DARE. Some present-tense examples:
    AD1. He dare not return after all that. (aux DARE restricted to non-affirmative contexts)
    AD2. Dare he return after all that?
    AD3. How dare he return after all that? (similar to OP's original)

    Some past-tense examples, using aux DARE:
    AD4. He dared not return after all that. (aux DARE restricted to non-affirmative contexts)
    AD5. Dared he return after all that?
    AD6. How dared he return after all that? (similar to OP's original)
    = = = = = = = = =

    Suppose we look at the lexical DARE. Some present-tense examples:
    LD1. He dares to return after all that.
    LD2. Does he dare to return after all that?
    LD3. How does he dare to return after all that?

    Some past-tense examples using lexical DARE:
    LD4. He dared to return after all that.
    LD5. Did he dare to return after all that?
    LD6. How did he dare to return after all that?
    .
    And two more lexical DARE examples:
    LD1b. He does dare to return after all that. (present-tense)
    LD4b. He did dare to return after all that. (past-tense)
    .
    .
    Hopefully there aren't any typos in there, and hopefully there aren't any significant errors either.
    Last edited by F.E.; 11-11-2012 at 10:42 AM. Reason: typo. Added "not" to #AD1 and #AD4.

  12. #12
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BethS View Post
    Dare. But only because you've shifted into present tense for those sentences.
    Have I? I've been trying to keep it consistent, but it's hard when you're writing first-person and must deal with thoughts as part of the narration. What would the past-tense version be?

    Frankly, all this talk of modal auxiliary verbs and lexical verbs is beyond me. I learned grammar instinctively. This sounds right, while that sounds wrong, but don't ask me why it's wrong. When you get into the mechanics of grammar, I only know the basics. Delving too deeply into grammar reminds me of math, for some reason, and I'm terrible with math.

  13. #13
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    The way you have written them, they are expressed thoughts. And nothing wrong with the way you have it.

    If you want these thoughts to be past tense - and they don't have to be - you need to change the structure, say...

    I couldn't understand how he dared to return after so long. Or how he dared to kiss me as he did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orianna2000 View Post
    Writing in first-person, past tense. The female MC is fuming over something the male MC did, but I'm having a total brain fart and can't tell which it should be:

    How dare he return after so long? How dare he kiss me like that, only to regret it?

    Vs:

    How dared he return after so long? How dared he kiss me like that, only to regret it?


    It's part of the narration, not italicized thoughts, if that makes a difference. I keep thinking it should be "dare," because that sounds better, but then I think, "dared" is past tense, right?
    Everything yields to treatment.

  14. #14
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    Hmm. Okay. I'll probably leave it as-is, at least for now. If it shows up as a red flag during subsequent revisions, I'll look at changing it to past tense.

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    What do you mean by 'shows up as a red flag'?

    Only you can decide if the way you have it is right or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orianna2000 View Post
    Hmm. Okay. I'll probably leave it as-is, at least for now. If it shows up as a red flag during subsequent revisions, I'll look at changing it to past tense.

    Thanks!
    Everything yields to treatment.

  16. #16
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    What do you mean by 'shows up as a red flag'?

    Only you can decide if the way you have it is right or not.
    When I'm rereading my novel for revision purposes, certain paragraphs or sentences will sometimes stick out and cause me to pause as I'm reading. I call them "red flags." I might ignore them, but almost always, a beta reader will point them out later and tell me that something's wrong with them. I'm learning to pay attention to those red flags, instead of ignoring them. So what I meant was, the next time I read that chapter, if those sentences stick out and grab my attention, I'll make sure to do something about it. Right now, they're too fresh, I don't have enough distance to judge whether they're working or not.

  17. #17
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Gotcha - I thought you meant if some grammar programme was maybe going to flag it as 'wrong'.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  18. #18
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    Gotcha - I thought you meant if some grammar programme was maybe going to flag it as 'wrong'.
    Oh, goodness, no. It's nice to have it point out when I've accidentally typed two spaces between words, but that's about the extent of my current grammar check's usefulness. I don't think I'd trust it with anything more important, anyway.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Orianna2000 View Post
    Writing in first-person, past tense. The female MC is fuming over something the male MC did, but I'm having a total brain fart and can't tell which it should be:
    1. How dare he return after so long? How dare he kiss me like that, only to regret it?
    Vs:
    2. How dared he return after so long? How dared he kiss me like that, only to regret it?
    It's part of the narration, not italicized thoughts, if that makes a difference. I keep thinking it should be "dare," because that sounds better, but then I think, "dared" is past tense, right?
    Short answer?

    Yes, your #1 is a present-tense version, and your #2 is a past-tense version. (We're talking about today's standard English usage.)

    But, for many AmE speakers, it seems that the modal auxiliary DARE (which is what you are using in your examples) uses the form "dare" as the past-tense form too (but only for the aux DARE, not the lexical DARE). So, for past-tense, trust your ear and your readership's ear, and hopefully, your publisher's editor will be a competent one.

    Yup, that sounds like a fortune-cookie's fortune for writers: "May your publisher's editor be a competent one."

  20. #20
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orianna2000 View Post
    Have I? I've been trying to keep it consistent, but it's hard when you're writing first-person and must deal with thoughts as part of the narration. What would the past-tense version be?
    How had he dared to return? How had he dared to kiss me?

    Or

    Why had he dared to return? Why had he dared to kiss me?

    Or

    He dared to return, dared to kiss me. Why?

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