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The Verb "to bite".

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  1. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 18:32:09
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    Hell is only one day at a time like everything else and, while you're doing time in bedbug Hades you might as well learn a little grammar. I have resisted posting this for a long time but it isn't easy for someone from the old school like me [ when people in school were actually still flunked] to see the verb "to bite" misused constantly on a day to day basis.

    One thing is for sure. No matter how much the buggers torture you, you haven't "been bit". Never. You have "been bitten". Otherwise, it is correct to say "The creature bit me". If it "done bit you", you probably live somewhere south of the Mason/Dixon line, But it is incorrect to say "I haven't been bit lately" or "I was bit just last night". People write something like that here in post after post each day. Yet it's always "bitten" . Bitten, bitten, bitten. Some pundits say that, if something doesn't change soon, bedbugs are going to become a way of life for the majority of the population. When and if that happens, a normal conversation opener around the water cooler might be "How much were you bitten last night?" Incorrectly saying "bit" might cost you that promotion. Who knows what the world may yet come to!

  2. JulieH

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 18:52:08
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    LOL, the bedbug grammar police !

    Bitten... Got it !

    I'd like to correct my earlier post "I have not been bitten in 6 days"

    Or "I done got no bites fer 6 days"

  3. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 18:56:35
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    Well, you gave me my first laugh of the day. Or was it of the month? Done forgot.

  4. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 19:19:20
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    Buggybumpers - 45 minutes ago  » 
    Hell is only one day at a time like everything else and, while you're doing time in bedbug Hades you might as well learn a little grammar. I have resisted posting this for a long time but it isn't easy for someone from the old school like me [ when people in school were actually still flunked] to see the verb "to bite" misused constantly on a day to day basis.
    One thing is for sure. No matter how much the buggers torture you, you haven't "been bit". Never. You have "been bitten". Otherwise, it is correct to say "The creature bit me". If it "done bit you", you probably live somewhere south of the Mason/Dixon line, But it is incorrect to say "I haven't been bit lately" or "I was bit just last night". People write something like that here in post after post each day. Yet it's always "bitten" . Bitten, bitten, bitten. Some pundits say that, if something doesn't change soon, bedbugs are going to become a way of life for the majority of the population. When and if that happens, a normal conversation opener around the water cooler might be "How much were you bitten last night?" Incorrectly saying "bit" might cost you that promotion. Who knows what the world may yet come to!

    I don't know where you're from Buggybumpers but at least in AE both 'bit' and 'bitten' are acceptable past participles of the verb 'bite.' So 'been bit' is perfectly grammatical.

    -rs1971

  5. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 19:33:19
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    blockquote>I don't know where you're from Buggyhumpers but at least in AE both 'bit' and 'bitten' are acceptable past participles of the verb 'bite.' So 'been bit' is perfectly grammatical.
    -rs1971

    What's AE? Yes, "bit" is the past tense of "bite" but never with qualifiers such as "have"or"been". Not acceptable at all. It is just as wrong as saying "I have quitten that position" when only "quit" is correct. The rules of English may not be uniform or always make sense, but there is still proper usage.

  6. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 19:41:50
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    Buggybumpers - 1 minute ago  » 
    blockquote>I don't know where you're from Buggyhumpers but at least in AE both 'bit' and 'bitten' are acceptable past participles of the verb 'bite.' So 'been bit' is perfectly grammatical.
    -rs1971
    What's AE? Yes, "bit" is the past tense of "bite" but never with qualifiers such as "have"or"been". Not acceptable at all. It is just as wrong as saying "I have quitten that position" when only "quit" is correct. The rules of English may not be uniform or always make sense, but there is still proper usage.

    "AE" is American English. "Bit" is both the simple past tense of "bite" and also, along with "bitten" a past participle (the thing that used to form the perfect tenses). So in simple past constructions you can say "she was bit" but not "she was bitten". In the perfect tenses though, the two can be used interchangeably: both "I have been bit" and "I have been bitten" are acceptable.

    -rs1971

  7. blargg

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 19:48:26
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    If you're unsure, you can always say I was "pierced and sucked" last night, but that might get you some strange looks at the water cooler.

  8. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 20:09:55
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    rs1971 - 23 minutes ago  » 

    Buggybumpers - 1 minute ago  » 
    blockquote>I don't know where you're from Buggyhumpers but at least in AE both 'bit' and 'bitten' are acceptable past participles of the verb 'bite.' So 'been bit' is perfectly grammatical.
    -rs1971
    What's AE? Yes, "bit" is the past tense of "bite" but never with qualifiers such as "have"or"been". Not acceptable at all. It is just as wrong as saying "I have quitten that position" when only "quit" is correct. The rules of English may not be uniform or always make sense, but there is still proper usage.

    "AE" is American English. "Bit" is both the simple past tense of "bite" and also, along with "bitten" a past participle (the thing that used to form the perfect tenses). So in simple past constructions you can say "she was bit" but not "she was bitten". In the perfect tenses though, the two can be used interchangeably: both "I have been bit" and "I have been bitten" are acceptable.
    -rs1971

    Who says so? No book of English grammar! Well, if you are going to argue for "American English" as "anything goes" then that's the only way you can be right. You claim "she was bitten" is not correct but you couldn't be more wrong. You cannot say "she was bit" without sounding--well--
    undereducated. Sorry.

  9. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 20:20:09
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    Buggybumpers - 1 minute ago  » 

    rs1971 - 23 minutes ago  » 

    Buggybumpers - 1 minute ago  » 
    blockquote>I don't know where you're from Buggyhumpers but at least in AE both 'bit' and 'bitten' are acceptable past participles of the verb 'bite.' So 'been bit' is perfectly grammatical.
    -rs1971
    What's AE? Yes, "bit" is the past tense of "bite" but never with qualifiers such as "have"or"been". Not acceptable at all. It is just as wrong as saying "I have quitten that position" when only "quit" is correct. The rules of English may not be uniform or always make sense, but there is still proper usage.

    "AE" is American English. "Bit" is both the simple past tense of "bite" and also, along with "bitten" a past participle (the thing that used to form the perfect tenses). So in simple past constructions you can say "she was bit" but not "she was bitten". In the perfect tenses though, the two can be used interchangeably: both "I have been bit" and "I have been bitten" are acceptable.
    -rs1971

    Who says so? No book of English grammar! Well, if you are going to argue for "American English" as "anything goes" then that's the only way you can be right. You claim "she was bitten" is not correct but you couldn't be more wrong. You cannot say "she was bit" without sounding--well--
    undereducated. Sorry.

    Ugh. I wrote that post quickly and after way too much coffee. Of course, "she was bitten" is also correct because in that example the form is again the past participle. I meant to write that you can say "she bit the cookie" is correct while "she bitten the cookie" isn't.

    So, in summary:

    She was bit -> okay
    She was bitten -> okay
    She had been bit -> okay
    She had been bitten -> okay
    The bug bit her -> okay
    The bug bitten her -> not okay.

    -rs1971

  10. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 20:21:21
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    Here you go--bedbug ads and all:

    http://www.lingolex.com/tensexp.htm

    Click on the chart for the passive tense. "The man was bitten" is given as correct there. If the man was swindled, would you say "The man was took"?

  11. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sat Oct 22 2011 20:24:47
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    Buggybumpers - 2 minutes ago  » 
    Here you go--bedbug ads and all:
    http://www.lingolex.com/tensexp.htm
    Click on the chart for the passive tense. "The man was bitten" is given as correct there. If the man was swindled, would you say "The man was took"?

    Yes, from that site -> write the participle of the verb after the verb "to be"

    I think that what you're missing is that both 'bit' and 'bitten' are participles of the verb 'bite.' At least in American English.

    -rs1971

  12. i hate buggs

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 9:02:10
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    blargg - 13 hours ago  » 
    If you're unsure, you can always say I was "pierced and sucked" last night, but that might get you some strange looks at the water cooler.

    BAHAHAHAHA !!!

  13. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 12:19:00
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    rs1971 - 15 hours ago  » 

    Buggybumpers - 2 minutes ago  » 
    Here you go--bedbug ads and all:
    http://www.lingolex.com/tensexp.htm
    Click on the chart for the passive tense. "The man was bitten" is given as correct there. If the man was swindled, would you say "The man was took"?

    Yes, from that site -> write the participle of the verb after the verb "to be"
    I think that what you're missing is that both 'bit' and 'bitten' are participles of the verb 'bite.' At least in American English.
    -rs1971

    "bit" and "bitten" are not the same tense of the verb "to bite". That's what you're missing. Go back and click on the chart on the site I supplied. And it's not just "from that site". Plus there's no such thing as "American English". Did you ever take a course called "American English" in school at any level? I thought not. There are only "Americanisms" such as "Okay" and "I guess" instead of "I suppose". But anything that offends the basic rules of English grammar, which I imagine is still taught in schools in America, comes under the category of "Bad English. Stop confusing the people on this site with your own idea of what is "acceptable"!

  14. rs1971

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 13:13:19
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    Buggybumpers - 32 minutes ago  » 

    rs1971 - 15 hours ago  » 

    Buggybumpers - 2 minutes ago  » 
    Here you go--bedbug ads and all:
    http://www.lingolex.com/tensexp.htm
    Click on the chart for the passive tense. "The man was bitten" is given as correct there. If the man was swindled, would you say "The man was took"?

    Yes, from that site -> write the participle of the verb after the verb "to be"
    I think that what you're missing is that both 'bit' and 'bitten' are participles of the verb 'bite.' At least in American English.
    -rs1971

    "bit" and "bitten" are not the same tense of the verb "to bite". That's what you're missing. Go back and click on the chart on the site I supplied. And it's not just "from that site". Plus there's no such thing as "American English". Did you ever take a course called "American English" in school at any level? I thought not. There are only "Americanisms" such as "Okay" and "I guess" instead of "I suppose". But anything that offends the basic rules of English grammar, which I imagine is still taught in schools in America, comes under the category of "Bad English. Stop confusing the people on this site with your own idea of what is "acceptable"!

    None of this really has anything much to do with bed bugs so this will probably be my last post on the topic. Suffice it to say that you are incorrect. Look up the word 'bite' in any dictionary of American English and you will see that it lists both 'bit' and 'bitten' as past participles. Here for example is Merriam-Webster online: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bite?show=0&t=1319392785

    That 'bit' happens to not sound good to internet buggybumpers has not an iota to do with its correctness. If you are going to be an internet grammar scold you should at least know what you are talking about.

    -rs1971

  15. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 14:13:13
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    I try not to post about grammar on the boards because then I get even more frequently accused of being elitist and generally snobby or whatever this week's insult is. This means I spend a lot of time biting my tongue about missing apostrophes, apostrophes used to form plurals of words (which is simply never correct), comma splices, subject verb agreement, and plenty of other grammar issues that drive me batty.

    However, I did look up the verb bite in the Oxford English Dictionary. I can't post all of it here, but these are the most relevant bits (no relation to bites or bytes):

    Forms: Pa. tense bit /bɪt/ . Pa. pple. bitten /ˈbɪt(ə)n/ ; also bit. arch.

    That seems to me like using the form bit as the past participle is archaic if I'm parsing the punctuation there correctly.

    And then there's this:

    Originally inflected like write ; but since 16th cent. the regular past tense bote , still used in Lancashire, etc., has been superseded in standard English by the form bit , which (though it has the original vowel of the plural) is not a continuation of that form, but formed either after the past participle, or on the analogy of some other verbs of the same class

    Now, I haven't had breakfast and am leaving in a few hours for a funeral, so I'm not at my best, but if I'm reading it correctly, that looks to me like the past participle form of bite being bit is something that hasn't been used in standard written English recently.

    The OED is generally very good about including both British and American English variants because it's such a comprehensive dictionary.

    Grammar is like any other aspect of language in that it changes over time. I was taught to use the third person masculine as the default for any indefinite pronoun; that's no longer taught. I was taught to use shall for both singular and plural first person present tense instead of will unless you meant to be particularly emphatic; no one I converse with regularly seems to even remember that rule.

    I've never heard "I have been bit" in American English. I'm not as familiar with British English although I'm more familiar with it than most Americans.

    If pushed to choose between dictionaries as arbiters of what's most correct, I'm going to pick the OED over Merriam-Webster myself.

    After I get back from the funeral, I can corner some people at work who teach our grammar course and see what they think if anyone besides the handful of people in this thread care.

  16. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 14:17:32
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    So... that thar bed bug o'er thar just done bit me ain't the right thing to say at the water cooler? ....

    Or, if I don't have my grammar app with me, I could easily go with Blargg's. They'd just assume it was a goth thing at work....

    Obviously, sleep deprivation combined with a passion about grammar = this post

    They
    Are
    Out
    There
    = TAOT
  17. rs1971

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    Sun Oct 23 2011 15:22:25
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    buggyinsocal - 35 minutes ago  » 
    However, I did look up the verb bite in the Oxford English Dictionary. I can't post all of it here, but these are the most relevant bits (no relation to bites or bytes):

    Forms: Pa. tense bit /bɪt/ . Pa. pple. bitten /ˈbɪt(ə)n/ ; also bit. arch.

    That seems to me like using the form bit as the past participle is archaic if I'm parsing the punctuation there correctly.

    At least based on what you've presented it looks like you are parsing it correctly. It seems though a strange contention for the OED to make given how frequently I see it used that way. I had a look at two or three dictionaries of American English and they all included it as an alternative past participle and none of them listed its usage as archaic. And of course, archaic doesn't equal ungrammatical in any event.

    buggyinsocal - 35 minutes ago  » 
    And then there's this:

    Originally inflected like write ; but since 16th cent. the regular past tense bote , still used in Lancashire, etc., has been superseded in standard English by the form bit , which (though it has the original vowel of the plural) is not a continuation of that form, but formed either after the past participle, or on the analogy of some other verbs of the same class

    Now, I haven't had breakfast and am leaving in a few hours for a funeral, so I'm not at my best, but if I'm reading it correctly, that looks to me like the past participle form of bite being bit is something that hasn't been used in standard written English recently.

    It's possible that I'm misreading that excerpt but I don't see that implication at all. It simply describes the use of 'bit' as the simple past tense of bit, which isn't something in contention in this thread.

    buggyinsocal - 35 minutes ago  » 
    I've never heard "I have been bit" in American English. I'm not as familiar with British English although I'm more familiar with it than most Americans.
    If pushed to choose between dictionaries as arbiters of what's most correct, I'm going to pick the OED over Merriam-Webster myself.
    After I get back from the funeral, I can corner some people at work who teach our grammar course and see what they think if anyone besides the handful of people in this thread care.

    Frankly, I find the claim that you've never heard 'I have been bit' pretty hard to believe especially given that this thread only exists because of how frequently it's used that way.

    -rs1971

  18. Koebner

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 17:02:59
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    "Been bit" is a comonplace colloquialism. These boards are not English language exam submissions & if people choose to express themselves idiomatically that seems to me perfectly appropriate.

    Persons who strain at grammatical gnats are quite within their rights to abstain from reading idiomatic language but unless & until Nobugs decides to appoint grammar moderators, I see no positive value in this thread.

  19. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 17:05:53
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    rs1971 - 3 hours ago  » 

    Buggybumpers - 32 minutes ago  » 

    rs1971 - 15 hours ago  » 

    Buggybumpers - 2 minutes ago  » 
    Here you go--bedbug ads and all:
    http://www.lingolex.com/tensexp.htm
    Click on the chart for the passive tense. "The man was bitten" is given as correct there. If the man was swindled, would you say "The man was took"?

    Yes, from that site -> write the participle of the verb after the verb "to be"
    I think that what you're missing is that both 'bit' and 'bitten' are participles of the verb 'bite.' At least in American English.
    -rs1971

    "bit" and "bitten" are not the same tense of the verb "to bite". That's what you're missing. Go back and click on the chart on the site I supplied. And it's not just "from that site". Plus there's no such thing as "American English". Did you ever take a course called "American English" in school at any level? I thought not. There are only "Americanisms" such as "Okay" and "I guess" instead of "I suppose". But anything that offends the basic rules of English grammar, which I imagine is still taught in schools in America, comes under the category of "Bad English. Stop confusing the people on this site with your own idea of what is "acceptable"!

    None of this really has anything much to do with bed bugs so this will probably be my last post on the topic. Suffice it to say that you are incorrect. Look up the word 'bite' in any dictionary of American English and you will see that it lists both 'bit' and 'bitten' as past participles. Here for example is Merriam-Webster online: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bite?show=0&t=1319392785
    That 'bit' happens to not sound good to internet buggybumpers has not an iota to do with its correctness. If you are going to be an internet grammar scold you should at least know what you are talking about.
    -rs1971

    Sir or Ma'am--you must be worn out from your problems because the website you, yourself, supplied above proves YOU wrong. This is from the same "Merriam-Webster" site:

    "Examples of BITE

    The hamster bit the child.
    She bit the cookie in half.
    Some people bite their nails when they feel nervous.
    A wild animal may bite if it is frightened.
    The patient had been bitten by a poisonous snake.
    The mosquitoes are biting tonight.
    Are the fish biting today?"

    It doesn't say "The patient has been bit by a poisonous snake". Got it now? ? Yet that's what people here write constantly, that they "have been bit" by bedbugs when they should have written "I have been bitten".

  20. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 17:17:08
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    Koebner - 4 minutes ago  » 
    "Been bit" is a comonplace colloquialism. These boards are not English language exam submissions & if people choose to express themselves idiomatically that seems to me perfectly appropriate.
    Persons who strain at grammatical gnats are quite within their rights to abstain from reading idiomatic language but unless & until Nobugs decides to appoint grammar moderators, I see no positive value in this thread.

    Did you read my initial post? I didn't advocate for any "grammar moderators" but I do see positive value in learning. What's wrong with it in your opinion? I have learned a lot here about bedbugs and how to combat them--things I didn't know. Correct English I do know and I really wonder about those who object to anyone bettering themselves in any way. I have news: Others judge you by the way you speak and write. And some people who come here, Lord love and bless them, do pretty badly but no one is tempted to correct their every error in composition. Yet I don't think informing people of one simple correct usage amounts to "straining at grammatical gnats". Oh, well, I give up. Maybe nonody needs no edumacation nomore. Maybe a plague of bedbugs isn't the only thing wrong with our land.

  21. Koebner

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    Sun Oct 23 2011 17:22:29
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    BuggyBumpers - people come here to learn about bed bugs, not about your penchant for straining at grammatical gnats. Do, kindly, desist & allow this thread the natural death it so richly deserves.

  22. rs1971

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    Sun Oct 23 2011 17:31:54
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    Buggybumpers - 13 minutes ago  » 
    Sir or Ma'am--you must be worn out from your problems because the website you, yourself, supplied above proves YOU wrong. This is from the same "Merriam-Webster" site:
    "Examples of BITE
    The hamster bit the child.
    She bit the cookie in half.
    Some people bite their nails when they feel nervous.
    A wild animal may bite if it is frightened.
    The patient had been bitten by a poisonous snake.
    The mosquitoes are biting tonight.
    Are the fish biting today?"
    It doesn't say "The patient has been bit by a poisonous snake". Got it now? ? Yet that's what people here write constantly, that they "have been bit" by bedbugs when they should have written "I have been bitten".

    Ugh. What part of this are you not understanding? I'm obviously not claiming that 'bitten' isn't a past participle of 'bite' or even that it isn't the most commonly used past participle of 'bite'. It is both of those things. What it isn't, is the *only* past participle of 'bite.' So either of these would be grammatical:

    The patient had been bitten by a poisonous snake.
    The patient had been bit by a poisonous snake.

    That they chose to use the more common variation isn't surprising. At the head of the entry they list the related verb forms thusly:


    bite verb
    bit | bit·ten also bit | bit·ing

    The bars separate the tenses. So 'bit' is the simple past, 'bitten' *and* 'bit' are the past participles and 'biting' is the present participle. This isn't rocket science.

    -rs1971

  23. Buggybumpers

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    Sun Oct 23 2011 17:36:49
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    Koebner - 8 minutes ago  » 
    BuggyBumpers - people come here to learn about bed bugs, not about your penchant for straining at grammatical gnats. Do, kindly, desist & allow this thread the natural death it so richly deserves.

    Hey, Koebner, the last time I looked no one here was asking about gnats so your gratuitous introduction of them into the thread seems to be the superfluous element. No doubt you'll not be able to resist your penchant for having the last word, so... [Admin note: graphic insult in French deleted -- watch the language, please]

  24. Buggybumpers

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 17:56:17
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    rs1971 - 22 minutes ago  » 

    Buggybumpers - 13 minutes ago  » 
    Sir or Ma'am--you must be worn out from your problems because the website you, yourself, supplied above proves YOU wrong. This is from the same "Merriam-Webster" site:
    "Examples of BITE
    The hamster bit the child.
    She bit the cookie in half.
    Some people bite their nails when they feel nervous.
    A wild animal may bite if it is frightened.
    The patient had been bitten by a poisonous snake.
    The mosquitoes are biting tonight.
    Are the fish biting today?"
    It doesn't say "The patient has been bit by a poisonous snake". Got it now? ? Yet that's what people here write constantly, that they "have been bit" by bedbugs when they should have written "I have been bitten".

    Ugh. What part of this are you not understanding? I'm obviously not claiming that 'bitten' isn't a past participle of 'bite' or even that it isn't the most commonly used past participle of 'bite'. It is both of those things. What it isn't, is the *only* past participle of 'bite.' So either of these would be grammatical:
    The patient had been bitten by a poisonous snake.
    The patient had been bit by a poisonous snake.
    That they chose to use the more common variation isn't surprising. At the head of the entry they list the related verb forms thusly:


    bite verb
    bit | bit·ten also bit | bit·ing

    The bars separate the tenses. So 'bit' is the simple past, 'bitten' *and* 'bit' are the past participles and 'biting' is the present participle. This isn't rocket science.
    -rs1971

    Oh, God! I suppose we must be grateful that you're not employed at the Cape.

  25. Nobugsonme

    your host
    Joined: Mar '07
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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Oct 23 2011 22:39:38
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    Now that people have started telling other people where to stick things, this thread is closed.

    Keep it civil, please. Grammar is important, but manners are too.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."

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