Easily Confused Words: Aloud vs. Allowed

Aloud and allowed are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Aloud is an adjective. It describes a person using their voice to share information or express feeling, like by reading or singing. This is not to be confused with people who say something he/she is thinking without realizing he/she is speaking it as well. They ask, “Was that out loud?”

Allowed has multiple meanings.

  • As an adverb, it describes something within rules or laws, permissible.
  • As a past tense verb, it means something that was permissible in the past; chances are that’s changed recently.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Alouette initially wasn’t allowed in the arts program at her school. It was assumed that given her underprivileged background, she wouldn’t have the  means to have developed talents to be of interest to the board in charge of the program. What they didn’t know is that despite modest means, the girl had sung with tapes of gospel and classical singing since she was about 4. Her dad had them on in the truck and one day she just started joining in, responding to what she’d heard since she was a baby.

Her dad asked that they reconsider. Once they heard the girl sing aloud, they were blown away. Alouette received her official invite in the mail the following week. 


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