Word Confusion: Partake In versus Partake Of

Posted November 21, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This particular confusion arose in a listserve I subscribe to and intrigued me. Enough so that I’m sticking it to you!

The trick with partake in is the in. Think of it as being involved, jumping in to negotiate, sitting in on meetings, etc.

As for partake of, I do love the juxtaposition of such a snooty phrase with its more slangy wolf down, and yet both mean the same thing. I do love words, and I so enjoy the English language…!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Partake In Partake Of
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“A Man in Uniform at a Gathering with a Group of Young Women” is courtesy of Wellcome Images [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A man in uniform partaking in conversation with a group of young women in evening dress.

“Pie-Eating Contest” courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison News

Kids partaking of lots and lots of pie.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive
Third person present verb: partakes in/of
Past tense: partook in/of
past participle: have partaken in/of
Gerund or present participle: partaking in/of

Verb, intransitive:
[Formal] To take or have a part or share an activity along with others

  • Participate

Verb, transitive:
[Formal] To take or have a part in an activity

  • Share in

Participate in, take part in, engage in, join in, enter into, get involved in, share in, contribute to, play a part in, have a hand in, sit in on

Eat or drink OR an attribute

Verb, intransitive:
To take or have a part or share food, drink, or a quality or attribute with others

To receive, take, or have a share or portion

To have something of the nature or character

Have the qualities/attributes of, suggest, evoke, be characterized by, hint at, manifest, evince

Verb, transitive:
To take or have a part in food, drink, a quality, or an attribute

  • Share

Consume, have, eat, drink, take, ingest, devour

[Informal] Wolf down, polish off, tuck into

Only senior officers are allowed to partake in the negotiations.

Visitors can partake in golfing or clay pigeon shooting.

He won’t partake in the birthday celebration.

Come along and partake in the excitement!

Those averse to sushi can partake of the hot buffet.

The lyric essay partakes of the poem in its distillation of ideas and musicality of language.

Would you care to partake of a case of beer with us?

And each partook of the bread and wine offered unto him.

Adjective: partakable, unpartaken, unpartaking
Noun: partaker
Verb, intransitive: prepartake, prepartook, prepartaken, prepartaking
History of the Word:
Mid-16th century as a back-formation from earlier partaker meaning person who takes a part.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Ben’s Tailgate Party by Ben Vardi is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.