What Is a Participle? | Definition, Types & Examples

A participle is a word derived from a verb that can be used as an adjective or to form certain verb tenses. There are two main types of participles:

  • Past participles (typically ending in “-ed,” “-en,” “-n,” “-ne,” or “-t”) are used for perfect tenses and passive voice constructions.
  • Present participles (always ending in “-ing”) are used for continuous tenses.
Examples: Past participles and present participles in a sentence
Surprised by the sound of sirens, I looked out the window.

Andy cleaned up the broken glass.

I saw Kevin running down the street.

Everyone stared at the laughing man.

Note
The words “past” and “present” do not indicate the specific tenses in which participles are used. Both past participles and present participles can be used in the past, present, and future tense. And both are commonly used as adjectives.

Continue reading: What Is a Participle? | Definition, Types & Examples

*Alot vs. A Lot vs. Allot | Meaning & Correct Spelling

A lot and allot are pronounced the same, but they have unrelated meanings.

  • A lot is used as a pronoun meaning “many” or “a great amount” and an adverb meaning “very much” or “often.”
  • Allot is a verb meaning “assign” or “distribute.”
  • Alot is sometimes mistakenly used instead of a lot. However, it isn’t a real word and should be avoided.
Examples: A lot in a sentence Examples: Allot in a sentence
Javier eats a lot of fruit but not many vegetables. The president decided to allot more funding to national defense.
My cat sleeps a lot. Students should allot an hour every day to independent study.

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Is It *Now a Days or Nowadays? | Meaning & Spelling

Nowadays is an adverb meaning “at present” or “in comparison with a past time.”

“Now a days,” written with spaces, is sometimes used instead of nowadays. However, this is not correct and should be avoided. Other variants such as “now-a-days,” “now days,” “nowdays,” and “nowaday” are also wrong.

Examples: Now a days and nowadays in a sentence
  • Now a days, many people work from home.
  • Nowadays, many people work from home.
  • April used to work for a large firm, but now a days she runs a small legal practice.
  • April used to work for a large firm, but nowadays she runs a small legal practice.

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Beck and Call or *Beckon Call | Meaning & Spelling

Beck and call is part of the expression “at someone’s beck and call,” meaning “ready to do whatever someone asks.”

“Beckon call” is sometimes used instead of beck and call, but it’s incorrect and should be avoided.

Examples: Beck and call and beckon call in a sentence
  • Rose is at the beckon call of her boss.
  • Rose is at the beck and call of her boss.
  • I’m not at your beckon call.
  • I’m not at your beck and call.
Note
While the noun beck is closely related to the verb beckon, they don’t mean the same thing and can’t be used interchangeably. Beck is quite rarely used outside of this expression in modern English.

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Is it *Jist or Gist? | Meaning & Correct Spelling

Gist is a noun meaning “essence” or “main idea.” It’s always preceded by the definite article “the” (you can’t say “a gist”). In legal contexts, gist is used to refer to the grounds of a legal action.

“Jist” is sometimes mistakenly used instead of gist. However, “jist” is not a real word and should be avoided.

Examples: Jist and gist in a sentence
  • I got the jist of the lecture.
  • I got the gist of the lecture.
  • What is the jist of the book?
  • What is the gist of the book?

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Practice vs. Practise | Definition, Difference & Examples

Practice and practise are two different spellings of the verb meaning “train by repetition” or “engage professionally in something.”

The noun is always spelled “practice.” The spelling of the verb varies based on whether you’re writing in UK or US English:

  • In UK English, “practice” (with a “c”) is the noun and “practise” (with an “s”) is the verb.
  • In US English, “practice” (with a “c”) is used as both noun and verb. “Practise” (with an “s”) is never used.
Examples: Practise and practice in a sentence
I still practise/practice speaking French, albeit not often.

If you want to be a better cook, you should practise/practice cooking more often.

Gerard’s research has major implications for clinical practice.

The medieval practice of alchemy influenced the modern field of chemistry.

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Genuflect | Meaning, Definition & Examples

Genuflect (pronounced [jen-yoo-flekt]) is a verb referring to the act of briefly bending down on one knee as a sign of respect or worship (similar to kneeling). It’s a common feature of Christian religious practices and marriage proposals.

“Genuflect” is also used metaphorically to describe the behavior of someone who is overly humble or subservient.

Examples: Genuflect in a sentence
Patrick didn’t genuflect when he proposed to his fiancée.

The protagonist of the story refused to genuflect before the evil king.

I’m not someone who genuflects for powerful people. I treat everyone equally.

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Kneeled or Knelt | Meaning, Difference & Examples

Kneeled and knelt are two different spellings of the past simple and past participle of the verb “kneel,” used to refer to the act of placing one or both knees on the ground. This action is often used as a gesture of respect or worship (similar to “genuflecting”).

The spelling of the past tense varies somewhat between UK and US English:

  • In UK English, “knelt” is standard (though “kneeled” is still acceptable).
  • In US English, both “knelt” and “kneeled” are commonly used (“knelt” is more popular).
Examples: Kneeled and knelt in a sentence
The people knelt/kneeled before the queen.

The worshippers knelt/kneeled and prayed every morning.

The mother knelt/kneeled on the floor to play with the child.

Note
Verbs whose past simple and past participle are formed in some way other than by adding the suffix “-ed” are called irregular verbs.

“Kneel” can be either regular or irregular; the irregular form is more popular today, especially in UK English. Other verbs that can be either regular or irregular are “learnt/learned,” “dreamt/dreamed,” “spelt/spelled” and “burnt/burned.”

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Spelt or Spelled | Meaning, Difference & Examples

Spelt and spelled are two different spellings of the past tense of the verb “spell,” used to refer to the act of writing or saying letters in a specific order to form a word.

The spelling tends to vary based on whether you’re using UK or US English:

  • In UK English, both “spelled” and “spelt” are commonly used.
  • In US English, “spelled” is standard, and “spelt” is generally not accepted.
Examples: Spelt and spelled in a sentence
My name can be spelt/spelled many different ways.

The child spelt/spelled the word for the teacher.

The two dictionaries spelt/spelled the word differently.

I’d heard someone talk about Scribbr, but I wasn’t sure how it was spelt/spelled.

Note
Verbs whose simple past and past participles are formed in some way other than by adding the suffix “-ed” are called irregular verbs.

“Spell” can be either regular or irregular, with the irregular form more common in UK English. This is also true of “learnt/learned,” “dreamt/dreamed,” “knelt/kneeled,” and “burnt/burned.”

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Is It Forty or *Fourty? | Meaning, Spelling & Examples

Forty (40) is a cardinal number (i.e., a number used to indicate quantity). Like other words for numbers, it can be grammatically classified as a determiner, adjective, noun, or pronoun.

“Fourty” is sometimes used instead of forty, but this is incorrect. Although “four” is the correct spelling of 4, “fourty” is not a real word and should be avoided. The same applies when forty is used as part of a larger number (e.g., “forty-four,” “one-hundred-forty”).

Examples: Forty and fourty in a sentence
  • The train was delayed by fourty minutes.
  • The train was delayed by forty minutes.
  • Fourty is divisible by four.
  • Forty is divisible by four.

Continue reading: Is It Forty or *Fourty? | Meaning, Spelling & Examples