Posts Tagged ‘waken’

Awake and awaken

March 20th, 2011 in Words

In British English, the verbs awake and wake are irregular. In American English, these verbs can be regular.

Awake/awoke/awoken (US/GB)
Awake/awaked/awaked (US)
Wake/woke/woken (US/GB)
Wake/waked/waked (US)

The verb awaken is regular.


Wake is the most common of these four verbs. It means ‘stop sleeping’. Wake is usually followed by up.

I woke up early in the morning.
Why did you wake me up?
He will get angry if you wake him up.

In a literary style we can use waken instead of wake up.

The princess did not waken for a long time. Then the prince wakened her with a kiss.

Awake and awoken are also rather literary words. They can be used to mean ‘wake up’.

Is she awake or asleep?
Is he awake to the danger? (= Does he realize the danger?)
At first I wasn’t interested, but slowly my curiosity awoke.

In informal British English, the adjective awake is more common than waking. Similarly, asleep is more common than sleeping.

Is she awake yet?
You were asleep then.