participate to/ participate in

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wallaroo, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. wallaroo Member

    Italy and italian
    Hallo. Is there any difference between "participate to" and "participate in"? For example: the sentences "he won't be able to participate to event" and "he won't be able to participate in the event" are both correct? And if so, is there any difference between them? Thank you very much. W.
  2. pescara Senior Member

    "Participate in" is correct.
    "Participate to" is not correct.

  3. wallaroo Member

    Italy and italian
    Thank you very much, Pescara
  4. chajadan Senior Member

    I would have agreed with pescara in the context provided, but a google search of "participate to" turns up page after page of instances of use that are synonymous with "contribute to" -- apparently it gets used quite a bit, and in some seemingly professional circumstances.

    If there is a ceremony and you will be playing a role in the ceremony itself, I would still say "participate in the ceremony" -- but perhaps, as I'm learning, others would say "participate to" if you help set up the chairs.

  5. gasman Senior Member

    Canada, English
    There may well be multiple pages of an incorrect usage, but I don't see any reason to accept the usage as grammatical.
  6. chajadan Senior Member

    Language changes over time. To me it is usage that ultimately dictates grammar, and not the other way around. I wasn't talking about a mere few handfuls of results -- that google search yields more than 1.5 million hits, with the use of "participate to" being used as a synonym for "contribute to" appearing prominently.

    For all I know it's in common use that way in England...

    Are there any native speakers of a variety of English that will vouch for the use of "participate to"?

  7. Terry Morti Senior Member

    Native speaker of England here!

    No, we don't say participate to.

    I must agree that just because it crops up a lot on Google doesn't make it right.
  8. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    What seems clear to me is that the many examples found are poor translations by persons who are not native English speakers. If one wants to claim that usage of any form by any person at any time renders that usage "grammatical", the notion of "grammar" becomes meaningless, and this entire forum is pointless. I don't think that most learners who come to this forum are merely looking for an encouraging pat on the back accompanied by the assurance that if someone has said it, it is for that reason therefore perfectly OK because usage determines grammar and the form was obviously used. I think most learners would find this statement more useful:

    I have never heard any native speaker say "participate to", and the expression sounds completely incorrect to me.
  9. chajadan Senior Member

    I will bow gracefully to what has been expressed. I feel you guys have made a good point -- I certainly don't want to mislead a non-native as to what I personally encounter as a native, and I have never encountered "participate to an event".

    who still believes that popularity of use, however, is a stronger force in the long run than prescriptive grammar
  10. idfx Member

    Just to thank everyone for an interesting (if rather old) discussion here, and to add that if "participate" means "take part", then of course you take part "in" something, while in French for instance (this vindicates Greewhiteblue's point), you say "participer à", and it so happens that "à" is often translated as "to".
    Note that "participer dans", which is the reverse equivalent of "participate to" in French and a frequent mistake of native English speakers, yields 654 000 results in Google, not all of them wrong, but certainly misleading (and I should think that 654 000 hits in French is proportionally more than 1.5 million hits in English).
  11. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    Sorry idfx but taking google as a guide to usage doesn't work. Often google joins things in searches that aren't together in the original text. If several native speakers from different countries tell you something isn't right, it makes sense to listen to what they say. It's also why these forums can be such a useful resource for learning.
  12. idfx Member

    Thank you cirrus, that's exactly what I was saying (after Greenwhiteblue). I was thanking the "native speakers from different countries" for their input, agreeing, and adding a thought of mine.
    Also there is a tip to avoid google joigning thing together that aren't in the original, it's called "quotation marks" (although this methods still does return irrelevant stuff like "participer. Dans...")
  13. Buda86 New Member


    I see you are debating about to/in, so I guess it's a good place to ask:

    what about participate at, like participate at the exhibition, is this correct?

  14. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    When you say participate at an exhibition, what do you mean? Taking part, for example being one of the exhibitors? If that is the case you participate in the exhibition, althought it sounds a bit unusual to my ears. I work at a gallery and wonder how you would participate in an exhibition as generally they aren't events.
  15. Buda86 New Member

    Yes, I was trying to explain that our company took part, exhibited... And participated in sounded so unusual... So, I guess it is the only correct way of saying it...
  16. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    Looks like we've cleared up that one then doesn't it? Glad to be able to help

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