When You Can’t Find Your Past Participle

Hello SErs. Happy Wednesday. Harmony here 🙂

While writing my current book, Exodus, I ran into a little difficulty … well, it felt more like a brick wall, lol. What tripped me up well and truly is a little thing called a past participle (I don’t know about you, but I hate grammatical terms. They always sound more complicated than they are, somehow, lol).

I wanted to write about shift schedules, which here in the UK, we call Rotas (I haven’t checked yet to see if that’s the same terminology as the States, etc. But you get the drift.) I wanted to say something like … Rota(ed) on. And that’s were the trouble began.

Usually, when my brain outright refuses to give up the goods, I turn to Google, and all my problems are solved. Not so this time. It seems there is no agreed upon form of the past particple of Rota. Here’s what I came up with from my online search …

There seems to be no definite ruling on the correct past participle of rota or the correct past tense usage for other words ending in ‘a’.

(Taken from myenglishlanguage.com).

The options they suggested are:




They even put that to a vote!

The trouble is, to me, none of them look right.  The nearest might be Rota’d, but then that’s an incorrect use of an apostrophe, arrgghhh. [Head against brick wall time] In the end, I gave up and chose Rostered instead. It saved me more of a headache, lol.

What about you? Have you come across words that you just cannot place into past-tense form? Like me, do you switch-out words for simpler ones when you get stuck and Google can’t help? Do any of you know of a definitive past participle for Rota? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


©Harmony Kent, 2019

42 thoughts on “When You Can’t Find Your Past Participle

  1. I am not familiar with the word, “Rota.” I don’t think we use it in the U.S. But, in answer to your question, yes, I have run into words before that just simply don’t work no matter what form I put them in. So, I visit the Thesaurus and choose a different word to say the same thing. It’s kinda like using a Capo when playing the guitar to get a different chord in an easier way. 🙂 Thanks for this interesting post!

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  2. My mind is asking if rota is a noun or a verb. It sounds as if it take the place of a schedule (a noun), which may be why you are having difficulty seeing it written in a verb’s past tense. I like the suggestions above of scheduled, rotated, etc. Or maybe, you can simply put “changed rotas.” Just an idea. 😉

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      • SEs PH Solomon looked into the etimology of Rota for me, and it comes from the Latin (as I’d suspected), and it’s root is a noun. It seems these problems occur when we take such words into modern usage without resorting to the Latin verb form of rotare or rotate, lol. All in all, I’m so glad I found a substitute word! 🙂


  3. Rota is not a word I’m familar with, sorry. When I hear the technology terms my mind starts to wander away. I have a couple words that try me and I avoid them, it’s frustrating when no firm rule applies. Hope you find the answe!

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    • That is a frustrating thing about the English language. There are so many instances where there are no rules or the thing is an exception to the rule (like i before e except after c … when some words are simply ei with no c in sight lol). Thanks, Denise 🙂

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  4. I’m now on edit number three of my book and having to google just about everything. I’m beginning to wish that I’d kept a notebook on all of my Google’s. There’s another … can you have ‘Google’s’ … it’s all too confusing for words if you’ll excuse the pun. Katie

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  5. That is UK term I have never heard before. I like your write-around with “roster.”
    I can’t think of any specific word or phrase I’ve encountered when writing that left me flummoxed, but I KNOW it’s happened often. When I hit those problems I go for the write-around too. When Google fails to deliver an answer you know it’s time to abandon the quest, LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, that is a UK term for sure. When I worked in the mining industry we called them shifters. We might refer to swing shifters, and occasionally swingers (But you might want to avoid that usage). Day shifters, graveyarders, etc. I agree with Joan and would write around it. In science fiction and fantasy you can make up your own terms if you give enough context.

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