Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Does it sound strange when you hear natives say “I win!” instead of “I won!” when the game happened in the past?

Find out why natives do that today.

Here is the question from our listener:

Hello, Lindsay and Michelle!

I’m your loyal listener, Jamin from South Korea. I love your podcast, I listen to it almost everyday while taking a shower with a Bluetooth speaker, which is really helpful and cool! I really appreciate you guys! (Big hug)

By the way, I have a question about how to use ‘Win’ and ‘Won’ In Korea, we normally say ‘win’ as the present or the present progressive form while you are winning, just until the game finishes. And after the game’s over we say ‘You won!’ as the past form, not ‘You win!’

Thinking of Korean grammar, I guess it should be ‘You won!’ and ‘You lost!’ or at least ‘You have won’ the as present perfect tense. But what I hear in English is just ‘You win!’ and ‘You lose!’ It sounds little weird for me actually.

I hope I can hear about this topic from you soon! Thank you so much again!


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Great question!

There are all these rules in English then sometimes (often) we don’t follow them.

There are situations in which textbook grammar doesn’t feel right.

Usually they are intense situations like:

  • Recounting a story – we use the present tense when the thing happened in the past, and we flip back and forth from present to past to pull people in. This could be could be a story from anytime, a long time ago or recently.
  • Competitive situation, like an election or a sports game, card game- these are sayings- “The Patriots Win!” or “You lose” you might say to the opposing team under your breath as you walk out of the stadium (as a fan)- you’d also say it with a certain tone of voice- you can’t say this with a flat tone of voice.
  • Newspaper headlines- “Trump wins the presidency”- when something has happened in the immediate past and it is being featured in the news.


In this situation we are talking about a competitive moment.

This is one of the times when we might put the verb in the present tense instead of in the past even though the event happened in the past tense.

Listen to the episode to learn more.


What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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