Grammar Query

What is the past tense of "open fire?"

Is it "open fired?" Or "opened fire?" Or maybe it's just "open fire."

The guy on the news says "the gunman opened fire" at least ten times a week, and it just always sounds funny to me.

Someone out there has to know...

12 comments:

  1. Opened fire is correct. Open fired would suggest that the action in the sentence is 'firing' which seems intuitively correct. But then 'open' would be modifying 'fire' so that the kind of firing being conducted was 'open fire.' As generally used, the action in 'open fire' is 'open', that is, to begin. So 'opened fire' means 'began to fire'.

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  2. TC beat me to it... That is correct.

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  3. Yeah, that's one of those phrases where the more you repeat and look at it, the weirder it starts to look...

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  4. I had a similar grammer query on my mind yesterday: the plural of "table of contents." Tables of Content? Tables of Contents? Tableses of Contentses? I think the second is correct, but the first sounds cooler.

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  5. Tables of Contents.

    Singular is Table of Contents- there is more than one table containing a list of contents. There's no reason to make Contents into Content when you state Tables in the plural so the first is wrong.

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  6. "Opened Fire"

    "Tables of Contents"

    See also, "Seargents Major" and "Courts Martial"

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  7. Sadly it is little understood that "opened fire" is incorrect. To refer to TC's point, "open" is actually a type of firing and "fire", not "open", is the action in the statement. Open fire is aimed and timed by the individuals firing, "Fire at will", you could say. This is the opposite of controlled or closed fire in which barrages of gun or rifle fire are coordinated and undertaken at order (picture, say, a Napoleonic battle scene with two ranks of soldiers, one firing on order while the other reloads).

    The correct past tense is therefore "open fired".

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  8. you can't open a gun, but you can fire a gun
    how you use these words depends on what you are trying to say in your sentence and the situation you are trying to convey.

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  9. JW is correct.

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  10. JW is incorrect. IF YOU CAME HERE FROM GOOGLE.. IT'S "OPENED FIRE" NOT "OPEN FIRED".

    Look at a bloody dictionary or encyclopedia people! They all say "opened fire".

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