It seems we’re getting interested in strong verbs! Earlier on in this blog we reported on variation between snuck and sneaked, and on the use of went for gone, still quite common in eighteenth-century English but possibly on the increase in American usage today. And how about this one?
Page 152 of my copy of Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol (1984) reads
And then he had showed up in London.
Showed for shown? Is variation like this common in British English? Or is it a writer’s error, the famous author nodding? There are other strange usages, as on p. 261:
The garage was small and musty, but would serve his purpose admirable.
A flat adverb or a plain error? Perhaps nodding is not a bad epithet, for the book is dedicated Forsyth’s son,Shane Richard,
… age five, without whose living attentions this book would have been written in half the time.
And here is another one (9 Feb 2014): Len Deighton’s Funeral Berlin has the following sentence on p. 266:
I had already began to fall back (1st edition, 3rd impression)
There was a typo a few pages further down: so is began a proof-reading error or a real variant?