Road or Rode – The Correct Way to Use Each

Road vs. Rode: What’s the Gist?

  • A road is a pathway on which people travel.
  • Rode is something you do on a road.

Continue reading for a more full discussion.


road versus rode

Homophones are words with identical pronunciations but nonidentical meanings. Homophones have confused writers for as long as there have been writers and as long as there has been language.

Rode and road are two homophones, but since they are different parts of speech, they are relatively easy to distinguish within the context of a sentence.

There is also an easy way to tell the difference using a mnemonic, so the rode vs. road debate is one that is easily settled.

What the Difference Between Road and Rode?

In this post, I will compare road and rode, which function as different parts of speech in a sentence. I will include example sentences for both words and outline each word’s definition.

Plus, I will show you how to use a memory tool to easily distinguish between rode and road in your writing.

How to Use Road

Road definition: The word road is a noun. A road is a byway along which people travel. Today, most North American roads are paved with concrete, but not all of them.

Roads are usually meant for traveling in a vehicle, like a car, a bus, or a bicycle. Sometimes, pedestrians also use roads.

Here are some examples of road in a sentence.

  • The Beatles wrote a song, and called it “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?”
  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions, but it needs resurfacing badly.

The plural form of road is roads. Road is a component of several compound words, such as inroads, byroads, and crossroads.

How to Use Rode

Rode definition: Rode is the simple past tense conjugation of the verb to ride, which means to travel inside or on top of something.

A person rides a horse, for instance, by sitting on its back, but a person rides a train by boarding it and travelling inside it.

See the example sentences below,

  • Jim rode a plane 1,800 miles to the West Coast.
  • Shelby rode shotgun to Marge’s house and to the restaurant, which made Ben angry.

Ride is an irregular verb, so it does not follow the conventional rules of conjugation.

  • I ride
  • I rode
  • I have ridden

As we know, it becomes rode in the simple past tense. Its past participle form is ridden. In other tenses, it follows the regular rules, becoming riding as the present participle and rides in the third person singular present tense.

Outside Example of Road vs. Rode

  • On the near-vertical slopes of the eastern Himalayas, workers are blasting and cutting treacherous rock faces to build a top-priority military asset: a 34-mile road to the country’s disputed border with China. –The Wall Street Journal
  • The Wizards rode a dominant third quarter to a 114-107 victory in the opening game of their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center. –The Washington Post

How to Remember These Words

Homophones are confusing because a listener or reader must rely on context to determine their meaning. In the case of rode or road, though, the difference is easy to spot.

  • Road is a noun.
  • Rode is a past tense verb.

They can never be switched; road is only ever a noun, and rode is only ever a verb.

Luckily, rode and verb each contain the letter E, making it easy to remember which is which.

Article Summary

Is road or rode correct? Road and rode are homophones.

  • Road is a noun that means a way by which one can travel.
  • Rode is a past tense conjugation of the verb to ride, which means to travel in or on a vehicle or animal.

Even though they are pronounced identically, they are never interchangeable. Road is always a noun, and rode is always a verb. This is an easy difference to remember though, since rode and verb both contain the letter E.

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