Laid vs lade

Laid and lade are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and mean different things, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language, and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the words to, too and two, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words laid and lade, the word origin of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Laid is the past tense of lay, which means to set something down, to deposit something, to arrange something in a certain position. The word laid is derived from the Old English word lecgan, which means to put down or arrange in an orderly manner. Related words are lay, lays, laying.

Lade means to put a load of cargo on a ship or to transport cargo via ship. The word lade is derived from the Old English word hladan, which means to burden or to load. Related words are lades, laded, lading, laden.


Former Mayor Marceil “Mimi” Letts was laid to rest Thursday and remembered as an ethical politician who touched countless lives in her community. (The Daily Record)

The Badgers had a subpar year last season and the Wolverines, whom I didn’t believe in all year long, laid an egg in “The Game” when I finally picked them to win. (The Washington Examiner)

The 266,141 dwt VLOC was converted from a VLCC in China in 2008 and sank on 31 March 2017 on a lade voyaged from Ilha Guaíba, Brazil to Qingdao, China, underway in the South Atlantic 1,700 nm from the coast of Uruguay with loss of 22 out of the 24 crew on board. (Seatrade Maritime News)

This brought the town into routine maritime commerce where “vessels may with safety and dispatch lade and unlade” their goods. (The Shoreline Times)

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