Definition of principal parts in English:

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principal parts

plural noun

Grammar
The forms of a verb from which all other inflected forms can be deduced, for example, swim, swam, swum.
Example sentences
  • Asked to recite the principal parts of the verb ‘to eat’, the irrepressible Hyman Kaplan suggested the following: ‘eat, ate, full.’
  • The stronger the principal parts of speech, the stronger the writing,’ ASNE judge Cunningham said.
  • Better grammars (like Smyth) will give you that sort of information in their full discussion of the morphology of verbs; they will also give you lists of principal parts of most irregular verbs.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: prin·ci·pal parts

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