Misdemeanors Against the English Language – Bite (?)

My first post in this series took a look at a now common misuse of the word, Listen. One commenter asked if the following sentence is a misdemeanor as well.

Have a bite.

Nope. Bite is in fact both a noun and verb, making its use in this manner perfectly acceptable. In this instance it’s used as a noun, inviting someone to take a mouthful of food. However, it can be tricky when applying rules of tense as a verb. Sometimes, you drop the “e”, such as past – Bit. “The dog bit him.” (In this form, it also becomes a word with other definitions. Such as an object, like a drill bit. Or, “I will do my chores in a little bit.” A reference to passage of time.) Then there is a past participle, where the “e” gets relocated, “He was bitten by the dog;” and a form of present particple which also drops the “e”, “He is biting the dog.”

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