Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Taut and Taught

The words “taut” and “taught” are called homonyms, because they are pronounced exactly alike, but are spelt differently and have completely different meanings.

“Taut” means to be stretched or pulled tight, not slack; tense, stressed not relaxed, especially of nerves or muscles.  Examples are given below:

  • Since I had to give the first speech, I was taut with nervousness before the event. 
  • The pressure of teaching a class for the first time made me so taut that my voice began to shake. 
  • Her voice was taut with anger as she scolded Maria for breaking the Ming vase. 
  • Jim was taut with anxiety as he waited for his biopsy results. 
  • The rope bridge was pulled taut across the expanse of the river. 
  • Pull the cloth taut in the frame so you can embroider the material easily. 
  • Anne’s blouse was taut across her chest and we told her to buy a bigger size. 
  • The tight-rope walker insisted that the rope should be taut between the two posts, or he would lose his balance. 
  • Martha was unable to breathe or talk because the gag was tied tautly around her head. 
  • John’s jaw became taut with anger as he watched his wife flirting with another man. 
  • I am always taut with anxiety before I board a flight. 
  • A clothesline should be taut between the posts or the clothes will sag under their weight. 
  • We were taut with tension, awaiting our daughter’s university results. 
  • The cables of the bridge were pulled taut to prevent the structure from collapsing.

“Taught” is the past tense form of the verb “teach”.  Generally the past tense is formed by adding “ed” to the verb such as: dance-danced, walk-walked, talk-talked, call-called and many others.  However there are many exceptions such as: ride-rode, write-wrote, freeze-froze, sit-sat, run-ran and teach-taught.  Below is the conjugation of the verb “teach”.

Present Tense Past Tense
I teach He teaches I taught He taught
You teach She teaches You taught She taught
We teach It teaches We taught It taught
They teach John teaches They taught Mary and Jane taught

To teach means to give someone knowledge about a subject, or to instruct or train someone in doing a particular task.  Below are some sentences using the past tense form of the verb.

  • I taught my daughter how to knit. 
  • Life has taught me not to take anything for granted. 
  • He taught English Literature at the school, but he has since retired. 
  • A dog has to be taught obedience or he will become a problem. 
  • The unexpected downpour taught us to always protect ourselves against the rain. 
  • The cooking classes taught me how to dress up a dish to look attractive. 
  • We taught our children to always say “please” and “thank-you”. 
  • I will never forget that you taught me how to drive a car.  
  • Mr. Williams taught me how to swim. 
  • The car accident taught us to carry our insurance papers at all times. 
  • My parents taught us to never be cruel to animals. 
  • Walking five miles to school every day has taught many village children what it means to get a good education.

The meaning of the words gets changed, not by speaking but by writing.   Did you mean “taut” or “taught”? It would be absurd to write “he taut History at school” or “she was taught with anger”, although nobody would find any error when speaking!


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