Categories
BLOG

win or won

Why do we say “I win” instead of “I won”?

For a long time I was wondering why there is I win instead of I won. I met such usage in a lot of games and movies.

For me, it’s logical to say I won, because this winning action is done already. I win for me seems like I’m winning right now.

Can anyone clarify this for me?

6 Answers 6

I disagree with the accepted answer in its explanation. If you’ve just had lunch, you’d say “I ate” (past-tense) and not “I eat” (present tense) – even if you’re saying it “just a few seconds after” having lunch. It is absurd to argue that “I win” is used because the winning has only happened in the recent past, it is being carried over to the present (although a runner might say “I win” as he is overtaking another runner).This is sledging, whereas the usage above is clearly about semantics/phraseology.

When you say “I win,” you’re being helpful – by effectively speaking for/on behalf of an umpire/adjudicator (or a referee), who is the proper authority to declare the winner. Conventionally, an umpire would say “Player X wins“, and not “Player X won“.

If there was a third person (acting as an adjudicator) physically present, and he declares one of the two players the winner, you’d certainly say “I won!” even if it was immediately/seconds after.

In linguistics, there are three honorifics assigned to any discourse : the speaker, the hearer and the bystander. Here, the speaker is speaking for the invisible bystander.

You’re also likely to say “I won!” with a particularly tough-to-beat opponent, implying incredulity/emphasis.

Why do we say “I win” instead of “I won”? For a long time I was wondering why there is I win instead of I won . I met such usage in a lot of games and movies. For me, it’s logical to say I

AEE 642: You Win? You Won? You Have Won? Which Phrase Wins?!

Does it sound strange when you hear natives say “I win!” instead of “I won!” when the game happened in the past?

Find out why natives do that today.

Here is the question from our listener:

I’m your loyal listener, Jamin from South Korea. I love your podcast, I listen to it almost everyday while taking a shower with a Bluetooth speaker, which is really helpful and cool! I really appreciate you guys! (Big hug)

By the way, I have a question about how to use ‘Win’ and ‘Won’ In Korea, we normally say ‘win’ as the present or the present progressive form while you are winning, just until the game finishes. And after the game’s over we say ‘You won!’ as the past form, not ‘You win!’

Thinking of Korean grammar, I guess it should be ‘You won!’ and ‘You lost!’ or at least ‘You have won’ the as present perfect tense. But what I hear in English is just ‘You win!’ and ‘You lose!’ It sounds little weird for me actually.

I hope I can hear about this topic from you soon! Thank you so much again!

Make sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Bring your English to the advanced level with new vocabulary and natural expressions.

Get the transcripts from today’s episode.

Learn to speak naturally with the American accent.

There are all these rules in English then sometimes (often) we don’t follow them.

There are situations in which textbook grammar doesn’t feel right.

Usually they are intense situations like:

  • Recounting a story – we use the present tense when the thing happened in the past, and we flip back and forth from present to past to pull people in. This could be c ould be a story from anytime, a long time ago or recently.
  • Competitive situation, like an election or a sports game, card game- these are sayings- “The Patriots Win!” or “You lose” you might say to the opposing team under your breath as you walk out of the stadium (as a fan)- you’d also say it with a certain tone of voice- you can’t say this with a flat tone of voice.
  • Newspaper headlines- “Trump wins the presidency”- when something has happened in the immediate past and it is being featured in the news.

In this situation we are talking about a competitive moment.

This is one of the times when we might put the verb in the present tense instead of in the past even though the event happened in the past tense.

Listen to the episode to learn more.

What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

AEE 642: You Win? You Won? You Have Won? Which Phrase Wins?! Does it sound strange when you hear natives say “I win!” instead of “I won!” when the game happened in the past? Find out why ]]>