The Grammarphobia Blog

Should we strike out “stricken”?

Q: Please tell me that someday soon the word “absolutely” will be stricken from the language. Oops! Did I commit an egregious error by using “stricken” in lieu of “struck”? If your answer is in the affirmative, please do not respond by saying “absolutely.” I can’t stand hearing it anymore.

A: You’re not the first reader of the blog to complain to us about this. In fact, we wrote an item a few years ago about the annoying overuse of “absolutely” in place of a simple “yes.”

But let’s turn to “stricken.” The past tense of “strike” is “struck,” and that’s usually  the correct past  participle as well.

But, as Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage points out, the alternative participle “stricken” is used when “strike” has the sense of “to afflict suddenly.”

The usage guide adds that “stricken” is also commonly used (as you used it) in the sense of “to cancel or delete.”

So in the sentence you wrote, either “stricken” or “struck” is absolutely fine!

Check out our books about the English language