Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Aloud and Allowed

The words ‘aloud’ and ‘allowed’ are pronounced the same way, which is the only similarity between the two. They originally came from different languages, their meanings are not related, they are primarily used as different forms of speech, and they are spelled differently. It should be easy to tell the two apart, even in conversation.

‘Aloud’ was originally a Germanic word. It was a combination of the prefix a- and the word ‘loud’. In many modern English words, the a- prefix means ‘not’. However, in Middle English, a- had two completely different purposes: it made the attached word more intense, and it could also mean ‘out’. ‘Aloud’ has both of these meanings. With the latter meaning, ‘aloud’ literally means ‘out loud’, though there are some differences in how the phrases are used.

‘Loud’ can mean one of two things. First, it can mean that something has a high volume. Second, it means ‘sound’, so anything that makes a noise would be loud.

‘Aloud’ is a combination of all of those separate parts in different ways. First, it means something that is audible, as opposed to something that is normally silent. Second, it means something that is had a high volume when it should have a low volume.

It is most often an adverb, though it can also be used as an adjective.

‘Allowed’ is the past tense of the verb ‘allow’, which came from Latin through French. The original word was ‘alloco’, or ‘I assign’. This is also where the English word ‘allocate’ came from.

The word ‘allow’ means to give something. However, it is much more passive than ‘give’, since it has the implication of not fighting when someone else takes something instead of actively making sure they get it.

“Instead of holding them there, I reluctantly allowed them through.”

It can also mean giving acknowledgement or to accept something as true.

“I’ll allow your claim to that parcel of land.”

This has branched out to a number of other meanings. For example, it can also mean leaving some room open, especially in planning.

“Always be sure to allow for the possibility of failure.”

The other meanings vary in subtle ways, but they all come back to the idea of not preventing something from happening or acknowledging that something could happen.

Originally, ‘allow’ meant ‘to approve’, ‘to like’, or ‘to sanction’. These meanings are not in use anymore, but they can still be seen in older texts or in contemporary work that is using older language.

‘Allowed’ is most often used as a verb. However, some verbs can be used as adjectives. The ones that do are often either the past tense form, which typically ends in –ed, or the present participle ending in –ing. ‘Allowed’ is one of these verbs.

“There were a number of allowed items that we could bring.”

However, this sounds somewhat unnatural. A native speaker would most likely phrase it a different way, such as, “There were a number of items that we were allowed to bring,” or using the word ‘permitted’ instead.

To summarize, ‘aloud’ means something which is loud at a time when it would normally be quiet or spoken out loud when it would most likely be silent. It is an adverb that sometimes acts as an adjective. ‘Allow’ is a verb which means to grant someone a thing, to not obstruct someone when they are trying to get something, or to accept something as true. There are a number of definitions with slightly different meanings, but they all fall under one of those categories. ‘Allowed’ could also be used as an adjective, but it often isn’t.


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