Began vs begun

Begin is a verb that means to start, initiate, or set in motion. The past tense is began and should never be used with auxiliary verbs. The past participle, used with conjugations of the helping or auxiliary verbs and changes the verb to an adjective, is begun. The progressive tense is beginning, which can also be a noun and an adjective. Examples After weeks of dramatic testimony, jurors are set to begin deliberations Tuesday in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who faces life in prison or … [Read more...]

Bad vs badly

Bad is an adjective that everyone generally knows. It is the opposite of good, poor quality or not well. The adverb form of bad is badly. Confusion comes when one needs to know whether or not to use the adjective form or the adverb form. Action verbs, which describe an activity or movement, need adverbs to modify how the action is being done. Linking verbs, which connect a state of being verb like to be to its state, require adjectives to modify them. Think of it as either modifying the … [Read more...]

Beat or beaten

The verb beat has many definitions. The most common one is to strike or hit something. This can be one's heart, an instrument, physically hitting another object or person, whipping eggs, or a multitude of other definitions. The confusion with this verb comes from the verb inflections. The past tense of beat is beat. The past participle, which changes the verb to an adverb, is beaten. The adjective form is also beaten. Sometimes it is heard in the construction got beat. This is incorrect … [Read more...]

Drink drank drunk

To drink something is to swallow a liquid. The past tense of drink is drank. The past participle of drink is either drank or drunk, though the latter is used twice as often as the former. A past participle is the adjective or adverb form of a verb. In this case, drunk is used exclusively with the verb have. Some will say that drank is not the past participle. However, it is listed in some dictionaries and used widely as such. If you are concerned about your audience, stick with have … [Read more...]

Since vs because

Since can act as an adverb or a conjunction. In either case it can mean from a certain time in the past until the present, or after a certain time in the past. When used as a conjunction it can be used as a synonym for because. Because is a conjunction which can either introduce an explanation or reason for something. It is also a synonym for since. Traditionally there was a distinction between the two; however, they are interchangeable now. The one caveat is since's dual definitions. … [Read more...]

Compared to or compared with

To compare two things is to evaluate them in reference to each other, their similarities and their differences. Both prepositions to and with may be used with this verb (e.g., compared to and compared with). In most situations they can be interchangeable and your meaning will be clear. A century ago, with was the favorite. Now it has fallen out of favor and compared to is found more often. If you or your audience are focused on nuances, there is a traditional distinction between the two … [Read more...]

Alliteration vs assonance

Alliteration is a noun used for the concept of words starting with the same phonetic sound and these words placed in a row or close together. Alliterate is the verb form of alliteration. To alliterate is to create alliteration either with spoken language or written words. The adjective form is alliterative, and the adverb is alliteratively. Assonance is the noun used to describe repetitive sounds in words, specifically vowels, which happen at any point in the word. The verb is assonate, … [Read more...]

None are or none is

None is a pronoun most of the time. It means nothing, zero, no one, or not any part. Some believe it can only be singular in construction, but that is not true. Most seem to think that because none can mean 'not one' that it is always singular, but none can also mean 'not any'. See the examples for uses in plural or singular. Examples Singular But on Friday, which was the last day of filing nominations, among the 24 candidates who filed their nominations from the area none was from the … [Read more...]

Stick to, stick by, or stick with

To stick is to attach to something or not move. There are three prepositions that are commonly used with this verb, by, with, and to, which change the verb to a phrasal verb. For the most part these can be used interchangeably to mean remain loyal or be persistent, especially if there is hardship involved. In each phrasal verb, stick can take the usual formations of sticks, stuck, and sticking. A related phrase stick to your guns means to stay confident in a decision and not be swayed by … [Read more...]

Finite verb

  A finite verb is a verb which serves as a predicate verb (i.e., it has a subject and has the ability to function as the root of an independent clause). Most of verbs can present in a finite and non-finite form (where the verb does not serve as a predicate and cannot support an independent clause). The subject of a finite verb can be stated or implied. In English the role of a finite verb is subtle, but in other languages, the finite form of a verb can state gender, person (e.g., … [Read more...]

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