Difference between dived or dove

In the English language, the verbs dived and dove represent the past tense of dive, illustrating the action of plunging into water or moving downward through air. These terms share the same root but differ in usage based on regional preferences. This article delves into the distinctions between dived and dove, offering insights into their definitions, origins, pronunciations, and usage in sentences. By exploring these aspects, readers can gain a comprehensive understanding of when and how to use these terms correctly.

Quick Facts Table

UsagePredominantly British EnglishPredominantly American English
OriginOld English19th-century American English

Difference Between “Dived” OR “Dove

Definition of Dived

Dived is the past tense and past participle of dive in standard British English, used to describe the action of jumping headfirst into water or quickly moving downwards.

Definition of Dove

Dove is the past tense of dive mainly used in American English, referring to the same action of plunging into water or descending through the air rapidly.

Origin of Dived

  • Dived originates from the Old English word dyfan, meaning ‘to dip or immerse’, and has been used in English literature since at least the 13th century.

Origin of Dove

  • Dove emerged in the 19th century in American English as an alternative past tense form of dive, gaining popularity for its analogy to the past tense forms of drive (drove) and strive (strove).


  • Dived: Pronounced /daɪvd/
  • Dove: Pronounced /doʊv/

Comparing Dived and Dove

While dived and dove refer to the same action, their usage highlights regional linguistic preferences. Dived is the more traditionally accepted form in British English, maintaining consistency with the regular past tense formation. Conversely, dove is an irregular past tense form that has gained favor in American English, reflecting a distinct linguistic evolution in the United States.

Comparison Table

RegionUK and other English-speaking countriesPrimarily the United States
FormalityMore formal and traditionalLess formal, more colloquial
FrequencyCommon in written and spoken language outside the USCommon in everyday American English

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Dived in Sentences

  1. The swimmer dived into the pool with perfect form.
    • Here, dived indicates a completed action of jumping into the pool.
  2. She dived for the ball during the volleyball match.
    • Dived describes a sudden move toward the ball.
  3. He dived into the project, spending hours on research.
    • Metaphorically, dived signifies deep engagement with the project.
  4. The dolphin dived back into the ocean after leaping out.
    • Dived illustrates the dolphin’s return to the water.
  5. The prices dived after the announcement.
    • Dived is used to depict a rapid decrease in prices.

Use of Dove in Sentences

  1. He dove into the lake from the cliff.
    • Dove conveys the action of plunging into the lake.
  2. They dove for cover when it started to rain.
    • Here, dove represents a quick movement to find shelter.
  3. She dove into her studies, forgetting about the time.
    • Dove metaphorically indicates intense focus on studying.
  4. The eagle dove towards its prey from the sky.
    • Dove describes the eagle’s swift descent.
  5. The sun dove below the horizon, ending the day.
    • Poetically, dove is used to describe the sunset.


Understanding the nuances between dived and dove enhances one’s grasp of English language variations. While both terms are correct, their usage depends largely on regional preferences, with dived being favored in British English and dove in American English. Recognizing these differences allows for more accurate and contextually appropriate language use.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Which is correct, “dived” or “dove”?
    • Both are correct; dived is preferred in British English, while dove is common in American English.
  • Can “dived” and “dove” be used interchangeably?
    • Yes, but the choice should consider the audience’s regional linguistic preferences.
  • Is “dived” becoming less common?
    • Dived remains common outside the United States, though dove has gained popularity in American English.
  • Does the choice between “dived” and “dove” affect the meaning of a sentence?
    • No, the choice does not change the meaning, only the stylistic and regional appropriateness.

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