When it comes to IELTS coaching, Sahasriya finds that students from vernacular (non English medium) education struggle. To ensure all students are successful, Sahasriya’s IELTS Foundation course is a path-breaking to equip such students to succeed in IELTS. Sahasriya’s IELTS Foundation course along with IELTS Advanced course has been piloted with tens of students over last few months and have seen 100% success. For the first time in IELTS preparation, Sahasriya’s IELTS Foundation course is creating not only ripples, but also brings in structured learning to students wanting to succeed. In Bengaluru or Chennai-Velachery and Porur or Coimbatore, the best success rate destination for English courses always ends up at Sahasriya. Everyday’s note on important aspects of English language is a standing example of students leveraging IELTS Foundation course. Today, it is about ‘Proved‘ and ‘Proven‘.

Verb conjugation is difficult even for experienced English writers. There are nearly 200 irregular verbs in English, so it would be an ambitious endeavor to try to memorize them all.

Prove is one such irregular verb. Proved and proven both see use in this verb’s past tense conjugations, but which one is the better choice?

When to Use Proved

IELTS Foundation course Proved

What does proved mean? Prove is a past tense form of the verb prove, which means to show evidence for something.

Proved is the simple past and past participle form of this verb, as you can see from the sentences below,

  • Yesterday, Govind proved his impressive skills by outselling the rest of the sales force combined.
  • “I have proved you wrong through indisputable logic!” claimed the debate team leader.

Proved is useful for all past tense conjugations of prove, including the following tenses,

  • Simple past: I/we/you/he/she/they proved
  • Past participle: I/we/you/he/she/they have proved
  • Past perfect: had proved

Proved never functions as an adjective: only a verb.

When to Use Proven

IELTS Foundation course Proven

What does proven mean? Proven is the adjective form of proved, denoting something that has been demonstrated.

Here are a few examples,

  • IPL managers entrust their late-innings work to proven performers who will get outs without allowing runs.
  • “I don’t want Elizabeth as an administrative liaison; she is a proven liability,” said Mathew.

Occasionally, some writers use proven instead of proved as the past participle form of prove. This is much more common in American English than British English (In British English, proved remains the sole standard past participle.)

For example,

  • “I have proven my critics wrong beyond any shadow of a doubt,” asserted the comeback player of the year.
  • “I resent this line of questioning, because I have already proven these accusations to be false,” said the defendant.

As the Oxford English Dictionary states,

For complex historical reasons, prove developed two past participles: proved and proven. Both are correct and can be used more or less interchangeably.

As for today’s writing, especially formal writing, it is best to stick to these traditional rule.

  • Use proved as a past participle.
  • Use proven as an adjective.

It should be noted, however, that the phrase innocent until proven guilty is so common that it must count as an exception to this rule.

Trick to Remember the Difference

IELTS Foundation course Proved Past participle

If you need an adjective, proven is your only choice. Proved never functions as an adjective. This is an easy choice.

Similarly, if you need a simple past verb, proved is the only correct word. Another easy choice.

For past participles, though, the situation is not so clear. Both proved and proven are commonly used as past participles. Even though proved has a longer history as a past participle and is used more often, there is no universal rule against using proven. Some places discourage its use, while others do not.

With British audiences, proved is still probably a better choice since it is much more widely used than proven.

Since proved and default both contain the letter D, you should find it easy to remember that proved is the default past participle of prove.


Is it proven or proved? The confusion around these two words surrounds their use as a past participle.

  • Proved is the simple past tense and past participle of the verb prove, which means to show evidence for something.
  • Proven is the adjective form of this word, and can be used as a past participle in some instances.
  • Most places prefer proved as a past participle and proven as an adjective.

This daily series is an effort by Sahasriya in helping not only IELTS Foundation course students but also IELTS Advanced course students in constant upgrading of their skills and learning.

About Sindhu Sriram

Sindhu SriramAn education enthusiast and a self-made entrepreneur in devising unique and simple ways to educate complex elements. An English language expert and a successful role-model for many aspiring trainers. Not only is she the brainchild to have founded Sahasriya, she is a top-notch and sought after English language professional

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