Dragged or Drug: What’s the Difference?

English has both regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs can be conjugated into past tense by adding -ed. Irregular verbs are conjugated into past tense in exciting and unpredictable ways.

It can be difficult to remember which verbs fall into which category. Some verbs seem to be equally at home in both.

The verb drag, which means to pull or tow something, is one such verb. At first glance, dragged and drug both seem to be correct conjugations. Read on to find out which word is correct, and whether you should use dragged or drug.

What is the Difference Between Dragged and Drug?

In this article, I will compare dragged vs. drug. I’ll use each in a sentence, and I’ll give you a helpful trick to remember which word is which.

When to Use Dragged

Define dragged or define drugWhat does dragged mean? Drag is a regular verb, which means it can be conjugated into the past tense simply by adding -ed to the end of the word to form dragged.

Dragged is considered the proper conjugation of drag. Here are some examples of its accepted usage:

  • The movie dragged on and on until no one cared about the ending.
  • Marla dragged the sled behind her snowmobile while her children laughed and screamed.
  • The economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.2 percent in the second quarter, dragged down by lower business and government spending and excess inventories. –The New York Times

When to Use Drug

Definition of drug and definition of draggedWhat does drug mean? Drug is never the correct choice for the past tense of drag.

It should be avoided in most contexts. In specific fiction or creative writing where you might be trying to capture colloquial speech, you might have a character say this:

  • “I want those bank robbers drug into the street and shot!” yelled the sheriff.

Otherwise, avoid drug in favor of dragged for the past tense of the verb drag.

Of course, drug has other uses. It is also sometimes a noun, where it refers to a medication or any addictive substance. It can also be a verb in this sense, which is unrelated to dragged entirely.

For example,

  • We will drug the vicious predators to make them docile for transport. (verb)
  • With addiction to those pills at crisis levels, they argue, a good part of the solution would be for doctors to rein in use of the drugs. –The Washington Post (noun)

While these uses are proper, drug should not be used as a past tense form of drag. In this situation, use dragged instead.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Drug versus dragged definition If you are still having troubling remembering drug vs. dragged, here is a helpful trick.

Dragged is the correct past tense of the verb drag. Drug has other forms, but is not correct as the past tense of drag. You can remember the difference by rhyming dragged with the word flagged.

Dragged and flagged are both past tense verbs. Just as you would not say “the editor flug the sentence for removal,” you should also not say “the editor drug the dictionary out of his desk to check his spelling.”

Summary

Is it dragged or drug? Dragged is the past tense of the word drag. Some people use drug instead of dragged, but to do so is incorrect. Drug has other uses, but when conjugating the verb drag into the past tense, stick with dragged.

You can remember that dragged is correct by rhyming it with flagged. Dragged and flagged are the correct past tense forms of drag and flag, respectively. Drug and flug would both be mistakes. If you need help choosing between drug or dragged, you can come back to this site for a reminder.

To summarize,

  • Dragged the standard past tense of to drag.
  • Drug is not used as the past tense of to drag, but it does functions as a noun and verb.