Reader Michelle asks if the past tense of the verb to fly can ever be flied.
Your column on wake etc. reminded me of a verb form that I haven’t been able to figure out – fly, flew and flied. I know that the past simple of fly is flew. But is it always? I investigated a bit, and found that flied can be used but I haven’t figured out exactly when.
In contexts other than baseball (and baby talk), the principal parts of the verb to fly are
fly flew (have) flown
The bird flew the coop.
The hunter flew the hawk at a pigeon.
Charlie has flown his kite into the kite-eating tree again.
The honeymooners flew to Paris in the springtime.
We have flown with American five times.
In baseball, however, flied becomes valid usage.
A fly or a fly ball is a baseball hit into the air.
When the fly ball is caught by a member of the opposing team, and it is in bounds, the batter is out and the play is recorded as a “fly out.” The batter can then be said to have flied out.
In any context other than baseball, to use “flied” as the past form of to fly would sound strange, to say the least.