Instantly enhance your writing in real-time while you type.
With LanguageTool

Learn How To Spell and Use “Precede” and “Proceed” Correctly

powered by LanguageTool

Although “precede” and “proceed” aren’t homophones, they often lead to confusion due to their similar spellings and pronunciations. If you’re one of the many who grapple with these terms, our clear explanations and examples will help you learn how to use them correctly.

White text over gradient green background reads "Precede vs. Proceed."
Do you know how to use “precede” and “proceed” correctly?
Quick Summary

Precede is a verb that means “to exist or come before something in time.” Proceed is a verb that means “to continue with an action” or “move forward.”

  • The speech will precede the dinner.
  • Please proceed to the next room.

It’s no secret that the English language can be baffling. In fact, it is notorious for being comically confusing among native speakers and learners alike! There are homophones, silent letters, and countless grammar rules, not to mention the exceptions. But there are also words that are challenging simply because they are spelled and pronounced similarly, like precede and proceed. 

But we’re here to clarify the pesky perplexity surrounding these commonly confused words, so you can understand how to use precede and proceed correctly. 

Let’s proceed! 

What Does “Precede” Mean?

Precede is a verb that means “to be, come, or go before someone or something.” It can also mean to “outrank someone in importance.” Its different forms are:



Past Tense


Past Participle


Present Participle


Third-Person Singular


Knowing that the prefix“pre-” means “before” can help you remember how to use precede correctly.

In the alphabet, the letter “C” precedes the letter “D.”

In the example above, the use of the word precede helps indicate that the letter “C” comes before “D” in the alphabet.

Here are a few more example sentences that contain the word precede.

Cheryl is performing in the opening act, which will precede the main performance.
Usually, strong winds precede a hurricane.
The ceremony was preceded by a speech from the guest of honor. 
We preceded the meeting with an agenda-setting phase.
Extensive research precedes the writing of a dissertation.
In the preceding chapter, the author gave a surprising plot twist.

A synonym of precede is predate, which indicates that “something dates back to a time before something else.”

It is debated whether the egg predates the chicken in evolutionary terms.
It is debated whether the egg precedes the chicken in evolutionary terms.
Text reads "Precede means to be, come, or go before."
Remember that “precede” involves existing or going before in time or place.

What Does “Proceed” Mean?

Proceed is a verb that means “to begin or continue an action or process,” but it can also mean “to move forward.”



Past Tense


Past Participle


Present Participle


Third-Person Singular


Knowing that the prefix “pro-” can mean “forward” can help you remember how to use proceed correctly.

John asked Sarah to proceed with telling me what happened while he was gone.

In the sentence above, John asked Sarah to continue with an action, in this case, telling him what happened. 

Here are a few more example sentences that contain the correct use of the word proceed.

After the presentation, we will proceed with the scheduled events.
The project will proceed despite the delays.
They proceeded to score goals despite winning by a lot.
The team is proceeding with the assignment, although one of the members has quit.
The charity drive always proceeds smoothly, thanks to the volunteers’ help. 

A synonym for proceed is continue. 

After the tour, the guide will proceed with a Q&A segment. 
After the tour, the guide will continue with a Q&A segment. 

It’s important to note that proceeds can also function as a noun that refers to the “amount of money made after a sale, performance, or event.” However, when used as a noun, there’s an emphasis on the first syllable (pro-ceeds). 

Text reads "Proceed means to continue with an action or move forward."
Remember that “proceed” involves continuing an action or moving forward. 

“Preceding” vs. “Proceeding”

There’s one more thing we want to clarify: the use of preceding and proceeding. As shown in the tables above, preceding is the present participle of precede, whereas proceeding is the present participle of proceed. However, preceding can also function as an adjective and proceeding as a noun. 

As an adjective, preceding describes a noun as “existing or coming immediately before in time or place.” 

The preceding chapters were boring compared to the final two. 

As a noun, proceeding refers to a “procedure or legal action.”

My lawyer and I had to go to one final proceeding before the case was closed. 

Remember the Difference Between “Precede” and “Proceed”

When you’re trying to decipher these two words, just take a look at the prefixes and remember that “pre-” means “before” and is associated with time or place. On the other hand, “pro-” indicates action or movement “forward” or “toward the front.”

Before you proceed with your day, let us give you one last tip to help you avoid confusion in the future. LanguageTool—an advanced, AI-driven writing assistant—can ensure proper usage of these words and many others. Not only does LanguageTool correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, but it can also help you stay productive and reach your writing goals. 

Try it today! 

Screenshot shows LanguageTool correcting the word "preceed" to "precede."
LanguageTool ensures you spell “proceed,” “precede,” and all other words correctly.

Unleash the Professional Writer in You With LanguageTool

Go well beyond grammar and spell checking. Impress with clear, precise, and stylistically flawless writing instead.

Get started for free
We Value Your Feedback

We’ve made a mistake, forgotten about an important detail, or haven’t managed to get the point across? Let’s help each other to perfect our writing.