9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[awl-ter-ney-shuh n, al-] /ˌɔl tərˈneɪ ʃən, ˌæl-/
the act or process of alternating or the state of being alternated.
alternate succession; repeated rotation:
the alternation of the seasons.
Electricity. a single fluctuation in the absolute value of an alternating current or voltage from zero to a maximum and back to zero, being equal to one half cycle.
Linguistics. variation in the form of a linguistic unit as it occurs in different environments or under different conditions, as between the -ed and -en forms of the past participle in danced and spoken or between the (t) and (d) pronunciations of the past tense suffix -ed in hopped and rubbed.
Origin of alternation
1605-15; < Late Latin alternātiōn- (stem of alternātiō). See alternate, -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for alternation
  • Its arrival in the presidency would represent a healthy alternation of power.
  • The conduct of the government has been an alternation of periods of slumber and periods of rush.
  • He manages this by an adroit alternation between the macrocosmic and the microcosmic.
  • An alternation between the enchantment of the panorama and of the starry night sky.
British Dictionary definitions for alternation


successive change from one condition or action to another and back again repeatedly
(logic) another name for disjunction (sense 3)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alternation

mid-15c., from Old French alternacion, from Latin alternationem (nominative alternatio), noun of action from past participle stem of alternare (see alternate (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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alternation in Medicine

alternation al·ter·na·tion (ôl'tər-nā'shən, āl'-)
Successive change from one thing or state to another and back again.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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