Show Showed Shown?



I have been using 'showed' as past simple form of the verb 'show' and 'shown' as past participle.

But recently, I read somewhere that it is used as 'show' 'showed' and 'showed' in UK English and 'show' 'showed' and 'shown' in US English as base form, past simple and past participle respectively.

I am confused now what I have been using, that was correct or the latter part is correct?

Please clarify.

Thanks! :)


Posted 2013-12-11T17:17:33.817

Reputation: 273

According to, past participle of "show" is shown /ʃəʊn/ or showed.

– Damkerng T. – 2013-12-11T17:24:40.437

So that means, 'I have showed him the way to home'(perfect) and 'I have shown him the way to home' both are correct? or 'I showed him the way to home' (past simple) as compared to the first sentence is correct?

If both are correct, in which situation I should use what? :( – Porwal – 2013-12-11T17:29:01.117

2As a non-native speaker, I believe it is safer to stick with "shown". And, just keep in mind that "showed" as past participle is also acceptable (at least according to some dictionaries). – Damkerng T. – 2013-12-11T17:36:38.533



Yes, in US English:

I show the picture every day. I will show the picture tomorrow. I showed the picture yesterday. I had shown the picture before you told me not to. I was shown the picture on many occasions.

Saying "was showed" or "had showed" is considered a sign of poor English skills. It is a common mistake for children and poorly-educated people.

I have no idea what the convention is in the U.K., perhaps someone else can address that.


I think most English verbs use a X/Xed/Xed pattern. But there are many that are irregular.

I try to exercise every day. I tried to exercise yesterday. I have tried to exercise for years.

And: I shave every day. I shaved yesterday. I was shaved by the barber.


Irregulars include show/showed/shown as above.

Also: I give compliments every day. I gave a compliment yesterday. I have given compliments often.

I think today. I thought yesterday. I have thought about it often.

I eat today. I ate yesterday. I have eaten many meals.



Posted 2013-12-11T17:17:33.817

Reputation: 51 729

2'Saying "was showed" or "had showed" is considered a sign of poor English skills.' - exactly because of this, I got this question. – Porwal – 2013-12-11T17:30:42.347


The Oxford English Dictionary says both past participle forms have existed historically. The one formed with the -ed suffix descends from Old English; the one formed with the -n suffix developed later, in Middle English.

However, the Google Ngram Viewer indicates that the use of "showed" as a past participle has been quite rare in published English writing for at least the past century.

enter image description here

This result held for both the American English and British English sections of the corpus.

Based on this and my own reaction to the sound of "has showed" and "have showed", I would recommend always using "shown" as the past participle of "show".

There may be specific contexts where "showed" as a past participle doesn't sound as bad as it usually does. For example, "had shown up" is more common than "had showed up", but not to such a great extent:

enter image description here

I don't think there are any contexts where "showed" would be more common or considered more appropriate as a past-participle form than "shown", though. Or at least, I can't think of any.


Posted 2013-12-11T17:17:33.817

Reputation: 6 327


I believe Jay is correct in his assumption that "showed" as a past participle is always wrong. I believe it is the same in both American and British English and should always be "shown" in the past participle.

Note: Jay confusingly included a passive voice sentence in his example above, " I was shaved by the barber." within a group of active voice sentences. The sentence ought to read, "I have shaved this week." However, passive voice sentences do use the past participle, as indicated there.

E Sepp

Posted 2013-12-11T17:17:33.817

Reputation: 1

Can you cite a reputable source to support your position? – Davo – 2018-01-19T18:39:28.807


The above answers are already great but I would like to add that shew is also a simple past acceptable answer. Indeed I learnt the following pattern in in English lectures in collège : show, shew, shown. It may be less and less common but I think that the correct and complete base form, past simple and past participle respectively is :

show (third-person singular shows) simple present
showing                    present participle 
showed or shew,            simple past
shown or (rare) showed     past participle

My source are poor but popular. It includes show page on English wikitionaire and the ugly but well known in France which has a page on irregular verbs.

Revolucion for Monica

Posted 2013-12-11T17:17:33.817

Reputation: 127

1There is no such word as "shew". In the source given,, on irregular verbs, two samples are shown and the reader is asked to select which of the two is correct. show.... shew....shown throw.... threw.....thrown Throw, threw, thrown is correct. Show, shew, shown, is incorrect and therefore is not an acceptible past participle form of the verb show. – Meg Shepard – 2018-10-29T13:41:57.547

@MegShepard I object, there is the example of the English wikitionaire – Revolucion for Monica – 2018-10-29T19:45:49.567