Rode vs. Road – How to Use Each Correctly

enhancedwriting/ August 17, 2017/ Uncategorized

rode versus road

What’s the Difference Between Rode and Road?

These two words are homophones, which means that they sound alike, yet have different spellings and meanings. Despite having the same pronunciation, they can never be used interchangeably.

Rode is the simple past tense form of the verb ride, which means to sit on an animal or vehicle and let it convey you to where you want to go.

  • She rode a bicycle and a camel while in Egypt.

Road is a noun that means a path that people use for travel. It is often paved.

  • Cars travel on this road so frequently that it is in need of repairs.

Because they share the same pronunciation, people sometimes confuse these two words, but they are easy to keep straight.

Let’s practice a few ways you can use these words in your sentences to help you avoid making the same error.

Using Rode in a Sentence

When to use rode: Rode is the simple past tense form of ride. It means to sit in a vehicle or on an animal or other object and let it convey you to a new location.

For example,

  • She rode the horse for several hours through the desert.
  • She rode the bus for an hour and the subway for half an hour just to get to work.

Most idioms and expressions with rode occur in the present tense. However, most can appear in any tense.

For example:

  • to ride someone’s ass: to drive very close behind someone or to nag them to do something
    • I hate driving in Boston. There’s always some car riding my ass.
  • to ride tall in one’s saddle: to be proud or stoic despite hardship
    • Although he lost the contest, he still rode tall in his saddle.
  • to ride someone’s coattails: to be successful due to someone else’s efforts
    • You should never have been hired here in the first place. Everyone knows you’re awful at your job. You only got promoted because you rode your father’s coattails.
  • to ride on the wave of something: to enjoy a period of time after being successful or having something good happen
    • She couldn’t focus on her studies because she will still riding the wave of her first kiss.

These expressions show that rode can be either figurative or literal.

Using Road in a Sentence

When to use road: A road is a street that people use to get from one place to another. It can be either big or small, but it is usually for vehicles rather than simply walking.

For example,

  • The road started out as merely gravel, but over time people used it often enough that the city paved it.
  • I love driving on country roads because it is so peaceful.

There are many idioms and expressions that use road. Below are some of the most common:

  • a bump in the road: a problem on the way to achieving a goal
    • I’d like to say we finished the project, but unfortunately we’ve hit a bump in the road.
  • down the road: at a later point in time
    • I’m not sure if we should get married right now. Perhaps a little down the road I could be more certain.
  • a road hog: a person who takes up more than the necessary space on the road
    • Stop driving like such a road hog! The police are going to pull you over and give you a ticket!
  • road rage: anger caused by traffic jams or other driving conditions
    • He’s usually very calm, except when he’s driving. He suffers from very bad road rage.
  • the road to hell is paved with good intentions: results are more important than intentions
    • I know you were just trying to help, but you caused my girlfriend and I to break up! Remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  • hit the road: to leave for your destination
    • It’s time to go. Let’s hit the road.
  • let’s get this show on the road: let’s go
    • School starts in ten minutes, and it takes 5 minutes to drive. Hurry up. Let’s get this show on the road.

This expressions also show both literal and figurative uses of road.

Remembering Rode vs. Road

There are a couple of methods that you can use to help you keep these two words straight.

Rode is similar to drove. You can ride in a car or you can drive a car. In both the present and past tense, these two words have i_e and o_e, respectively. These both describe a means of transportation, which can help you make a connection.

On the other hand, road has a similar meaning to street or thoroughfare. All three of these words have two vowels in the middle of the word.

Outside Examples

  • You still have trust issues, thanks to that confounding first half, when the team with arguably the most talent in baseball rode a roller coaster to a 43-45 record. –Chicago Sun Times
  • They then walked until the next day and rode in a pickup truck to Laredo, where they were put aboard the tractor-trailer to be taken to San Antonio, according to the complaint. –Denver Post
  • In anticipation of Senate Bill 1 funds, the California State Transportation Agency and Caltrans on Friday, July 21, announced plans to fast-track dozens of road repair and construction projects statewide – four of them in Orange County. –OC Register
  • The 6.5-mile road that runs through Rock Creek Park is getting a complete makeover. –Wall Street Journal

Quiz: Road vs. Rode

Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either road or rode.

  • The pirate ship __________ the waves and advanced towards the unsuspecting islanders.
  • It’s not a plausible plan right now, but perhaps down the ____________ it could work.
  • We’re late! We’d better hit the __________ soon.

See answers below.

Article Summary

Should I use rode or road? Despite having the same pronunciation, and both dealing with the general topic of traveling, you can never interchange these two words.

  • Rode is the past tense verb form of ride, which means to let something convey a person or object (such as a ship) to a new location.
  • Road is a noun which describes a route for cars and other vehicles.

Using the context, definitions, and mnemonic devices above can help you never to confuse these two words again.

Answers from Quiz

  • rode
  • road
  • road