Word Nerd: Thinking Allowed

Columns Education Evergreen Geek Culture Word Nerd


This week’s Word Nerd is one that seems rather obvious, but I’ve seen it pop up a few times, probably the result of intrusive autocorrect systems, which really represent the point of this feature; it’s possible for a word to be spelled correctly and still be wrong.


Allowed: the past tense of allow; to permit or give consent to.

Aloud: to say out loud; to speak in a normal speaking voice as opposed to whispering; to say loudly.

Allowed appears first around 1250–1300 as the  Middle English alowen, from the Old French aloer, meaning to place, sanction or allow.

Aloud turns up a bit later, about 1325–75; it’s also from Middle English, unchanged to the present day.

If you say “the children are aloud to play in the yard,” you’re saying that the children are very noisy outside.

If you say “please read the text allowed,” you’re asking someone to read the text that they are permitted to read.

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