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Commonly Confused Words: Precede vs. Proceed


Commonly Confused Words: Precede vs. Proceed

What does each word mean?

Precede is a verb that means 'to come before'.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is precede used in some example sentences:

  • Each film will be preceded with an introduction by the filmmaker.
  • She let her friend precede her through the door.
  • The dinner was preceded by canapès on the lawn.

Proceed is a verb that means 'to begin or follow a certain course'. The word proceed is also sometimes used to refer to the income or profits from an endeavour.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is proceed used in some example sentences:

  • "Please proceed with your statement", the police officer said to the witness.
  • The instructor advised the students to proceed with caution,
  • The proceeds will go to charity.

Where does each word come from?

Precede and proceed have similar origins.

Precede dates back to the fifteenth century and comes from the Middle French 'preceder'. 'Preceder' comes from the Latin 'prae-' meaning 'before' and '-cedere' meaning 'to go'.

Proceed has been used in English since the fourteenth century and comes from the Old French 'proceder'. Like 'preceder', 'proceder' also derives from the Latin '-cedere' meaning 'to go', but in this case it is prefixed with 'pro-' meaning 'forward'. Proceed has been used since the seventeenth century.

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between Precede and Proceed ?

  • Pre means 'previously' or 'before' and is often used in front of other words. Use pre to remember that precede means 'to go before'.
  • Pro rhymes with go. Use pro to remind yourself that proceed is another way of saying 'go'.

Where can I find other posts about easy-to-confuse words?

Sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary.


19 Feb 2019
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