Grammar question: "be awoken"

My trusty MS Word dictionary and grammar check are failing me, so I’m throwing this one out to the TM…

Is this sentence grammatically correct?

“I would like to be awoken at 8am.”

Now, to my ear this is horrible. However, it’s not triggering issues with grammar check.

Please help!

It sounds horrible to my ear, as well, but it is correct. My dictionary defines awoken as a past participle of awake.


It’s not a word I will ever use.

“Awakened,” maybe?


Aha! Thanks for the reminder to use my actual dictionary. American Heritage says it is chiefly British, which is probably why, though technically correct, it doesn’t “sound” right.

I’m changing it to “awaken” rather than “be awoken”.

Damned copywriters, always wanting reasons for changes to their work…

No no no! “Awoken” is correct, and sounds just fine to me. You wouldn’t say “I would like to be award the Victoria Cross,” would you? “Awaken” is the infinitive; you should use the past participle “awoken”, or “awakened” if you prefer.

My dictionary actually prefers “awake” as the verb to “awaken”, with the past participles “awoke” or “awaked”. These sound more horrible to me.

Another nitpick - it should strictly be “I should like to be awoken at 8am,” but this does sound rather starchy these days.
Just rereading your last entry - you are changing the meaning of the sentence.

“I would like to be awoken at 8am” means “I would like someone to come and wake me up at 8am”.

If you change it to “I would like to awaken at 8am” (which is still grammatically correct) it means "I would like to wake up at 8am, but I’m not actually asking anyone to do anything about it)…

We subeditors live for pedantry. (And I’ll bet I’ve made plenty of typos in this post :slight_smile: )

Close, but still not quite right.

The phrase you’re looking for is “I would like to be awakened” (assuming you’re in the U.S. and assuming you want someone to do it rather than doing it yourself.)

Or, you could just say “Will someone wake me at 8:00, please?”

I think so. However you could just say “I would like to be woken at 8am.” or, if you like, reword it. After all, you must be telling someone this, so “I would like you to wake me at 8.00am” should do…

My copy of the Webster’s New World Dictionary gives awake, wake and awaken, all three, as acceptable transitive AND intransitive verb forms. For past tense, you get to pick from awaked, waked, awoke, woke, woken, awakened and awoken.

The only discernible hard and fast rule is that the forms awoken and woken need the auxiliary verb.

“Please wake me at 8 AM.”

Infinitely better in all senses.

“I wanna get a potato clock”.



OH man. OK. Here is the real sentence. I didn’t want to put it out there because it’s work related, but here goes:

“X feature…the most civilized way to be awoken from a deep slumber.”

I am the print media manager for a company that makes a device that wakes people up in the morning. (Gee, what could that be?) In any case, given the exact wording that I’m to provide feedback on, what would you suggest? If “be awoken” is still preferred, I’ll spare the copywriter a re-write.

Please please please do not let Microsoft (or any electronic grammar checker) serve as your arbiter of good English syntax. This is still something that is best done by a human, and horribly mangled by machines.

(Yes, I know that the machines are programmed by humans, but grammar checkers are still very much in GIGO mode. I don’t know if they can ever substitute for human language ability.)

In this case, “awoken” and “awakened” are both technically correct; were it on my desk, I’d probably prefer “awakened” because it seems less like to invoke just this sort of internal dialogue in the reader.

Given the actual sentance, I’d refine my previous answer to say “That’s grammatically correct. But IMHO ‘to be woken’ sounds better.”

And according to Webster, you get to choose whatever sounds best.