Dragged or Drug – How to Use Each Correctly

enhancedwriting/ August 17, 2017/ Uncategorized

dragged versus drug

What is the Difference Between Drug and Dragged?  

Drug and dragged are two words that people commonly confuse.

In Standard English, they are completely unrelated. In non-standard English, however, they are two alternate past tense forms of the same verb, drag.

In Standard English, drug is related to medicine, poison, or other substances intended to affect a person’s body. In non-standard English, specifically in the center and south of the United States, some people use drug as the past tense of drag.

  • Although some drugs are illegal, doctors prescribe other drugs to improve people’s health. (Standard English meaning)
  • I drug my feet all the way to school yesterday. (non-standard English, American dialect)

Dragged is the standard past tense and past participle form of the verb drag, which means to pull something, usually along the ground.

  • The babysitter dragged the screaming toddler out of the store.

Now, let’s go over the specific ways each of these words are used.

Using Drug in a Sentence

When to use drug: Generally speaking, you should only use drug as a noun or a verb to refer to substances that alter the physical or mental state of the human body.

These are the only accepted Standard English uses of drug.

For example,

  • Drugs such as marijuana were once illegal, but not are recognized for certain medical benefits. (noun, standard English usage)
  • The assailant drugged the woman by slipping a sedative in her drink. (verb, standard English usage)

If you are living in the American South, or in the central area of the country, you may hear others using drug as the past tense of drag. This is a non-standard use of drug, and you should avoid it in your writing.

It may be okay within certain spoken dialects, but it is not Standard English, so it has no place in formal writing.

For example,

  • I didn’t want to go to the concert last month but he drug me there anyway. (non-standard English usage, American dialect.

There are several common expressions using the word drug:

  • to do drugs: to take illegal substances
    • Parents try to teach their children not to do drugs, but it doesn’t always work.
  • drug dealer: a person who sells illegal drugs
    • Surprisingly, several of the city’s most notorious drug dealers were still in high school.
  • sex, drugs, and rock and roll: a lifestyle that involves lots of partying
    • She’s very into her school studies. She’s not at all interested in the sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle.

In short, to be drugged is to be given drugs. It has nothing to do with moving along the ground. To use drugged in this sense is an error.

Using Dragged in a Sentence

When to use dragged: Dragged is the simple past tense and past participle form of the verb drag. It means to pull something along the ground in order to move it from one place to another.

For example:

  • The campers tied a rope around the fallen tree and dragged it off of their tent.
  • My roommate is always dragging me shopping even though she knows I hate it.

There are also a couple of idioms using the verb drag:

  • to drag one’s feet: to move slowly
    • Stop dragging your feet and hurry up!
  • to drag someone somewhere: to make or force someone to go somewhere that they’d prefer not to go
    • The parents dragged their children to the grocery store because they had no babysitter and they needed to finish their errands.
  • to drag on: to take an extended time
    • The meeting dragged on for hours.

There is also a slang expression for the noun drag, which means a bore. This shouldn’t be confused with the verb drag.

Remembering Drug vs. Dragged

There is an easy way to remember when it is appropriate to use each of these words.

  • To drag something is to pull it along the ground.
  • To drug someone is to administer drugs.

Drugged has its subject matter in the first four letters: drug. If you can remember that the only time you should be using the word drugged is in contexts of drugs, you will be all set.

Outside Examples

  • “He’s not a bad kid,” said Audrey Alben, 84, of Bergenfield, N.J. “It’s the damn drugs that does it to him.” –USA Today
  • But transplants are risky and impractical to try to cure the millions already infected. So some researchers have been aiming for the next best thing — long-term remission, when the immune system can control HIV without drugs even if signs of the virus remain. –New York Post
  • The investigation and attempted prosecution of Blackmore and Oler dragged on for years due to uncertainty about Canada’s polygamy laws. –Houston Chronicle
  • A dog that saw a baby deer in danger of drowning in New York jumped in and dragged it to shore. –Denver Post

Quiz: Dragged vs. Drug

Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either dragged or drug.

  • Schools and parents must educate students on the dangers of illegal ____________.
  • The box was too heavy to carry, so the man ________________ it across the floor.
  • The pharmacist knows a lot about each individual ____________, as well as how they interact together.

Article Summary

Should I use drug or dragged? When writing, you shouldn’t use drug as the past tense of drag. It is non-standard and only found in dialectal English.

  • Drug can be a noun or verb and relates to chemicals or substances that affect people’s bodies and mental states.
  • Dragged is the simple past tense and past participle form of drag, meaning to pull along the ground.

Quiz Answers 

  1. drugs
  2. dragged
  3. drug