Aloud vs. Allowed – What’s the Difference?

Maybe you’re writing to a tenant to let them know that, after careful consideration, you will let Fido move in with them after all. Or, perhaps you’re a teacher and would like to assign poems for your students to read in class.

In either scenario – or a million others – you’ll need to know the difference between aloud vs. allowed. Though phonetically identical, they are, in fact, two very different words.

Like many other homophones, such as “aisle” and “isle,” for example, these two are not at all similar in meaning. Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t easy to mix up.

This article will take you through the differences between “aloud” and “allowed,” with plenty of examples, ensuring you never have to worry about confusing one for the other ever again. 

When to Use Aloud 

If you’re reaching for one of these two words, you’ll want to use “aloud” anytime you refer to sound. “Aloud” is an adverb that just means “out loud.” Since adverbs modify or describe verbs, “aloud” will always be connected to an action. It clarifies that whatever action you are describing is done audibly. It typically applies to verbs that can be done either out loud or silently, like reading or laughing. 

Examples of Aloud

Let’s look at a few examples. 

  • “She read the letter aloud so that everyone could hear.” This sentence is a straightforward example: instead of reading silently, she read aloud. 

In the sentence above, the verb we’re describing is “reading,” which is a common word for “aloud” to be connected to. Here’s another example:

  •  “He couldn’t help but laugh aloud when the comedian made fun of his friend.” Like the earlier example, “aloud” describes a verb. This time, it describes how the man was laughing. 

An easy way to remember this one is that the word loud is hidden in “aloud.” Since this word emphasizes when something is done out loud, it’s a helpful trick. One thing to note, however, is that it is pretty easy to be redundant when using “aloud.” Remember, it doesn’t mean “loudly;” it simply clarifies that an activity is not done silently. So, writing “he shouted aloud” would be a bit redundant since shouting cannot be done silently, so it is already implied that it was done aloud. 

When to Use Allowed

Before we dive into instances in which “allowed” is, well, allowed, let’s first look at what kind of word it is. “Allowed” is the past tense and past participle form of the verb “allow.” Past participles are verb forms that indicate completed actions, often in perfect tenses or passive voice constructions. For more info on past participles, Miriam-Webster provides a full definition alongside some helpful examples. “Allowed” is a bit unique because it is also used as an adjective in the past and present tense. Even though it’s a word that wears many hats, it is actually pretty simple to use. You’ll want to use this word when referring to something that was or is permitted. 

Examples of Allowed

These examples should help clarify the different uses of “allowed”:

  • “I allowed him to carry my books to class.” In this example, “allowed” is used as just the regular old past tense version of “allow.” 
  • “In the end, the appeal was allowed.” This sentence is an example of “allowed” as a past participle. The action has already been completed, and the sentence is in the passive voice. 
  • “‘Are you sure dogs are allowed here?’ her friend asked.” Here, “allowed” is an adjective. It describes the state of something – in this case, dogs.

Even though “allowed” is used in different ways in each of these sentences, it is connected to clarifying whether or not something was permitted or is permissible in every case. Of course, there are exceptions. In some cases, it means something closer to “admitted” or “conceded,” like in this instance:

  • “He allowed that he may have overreacted.”

A Quick Recap

Basically, you’re allowed to use “aloud” whenever you’re describing something done out loud. Use “allowed” when discussing something permitted or accepted in the past or is permissible now. Both words have clues in their root words – if you look for the “loud” in “aloud” and the “allow” in “allowed,” you’ll be headed in the right direction. 

Aloud vs. Allowed, Together

Let’s take a look at a few more sample sentences. We’ll even throw in one that uses both words just for fun. 

  • “I can’t believe she’s not allowed to go to the party when just last week Dad allowed me to stay out until 11:00!” Here, we have used “allowed” in two ways: first as an adjective, then as the past tense of “allow.”
  • “It was so embarrassing when I sneezed aloud during the big meeting.” Here, “aloud” describes the act of sneezing, in this case, at an unfortunate time. 
  • “Although many of her second graders were able to read silently, Ms. Jenkins allowed students to quietly read aloud if it helped them to sound out the words.” Here, we can see these two words and their distinct usages side by side. 

Need Help with Aloud vs. Allowed, and more?

Getting homophones right in your writing is crucial for clear and effective communication. Many writers and content producers still occasionally trip up over aloud vs. allowed and other words like them, which can result in content that confuses the reader or, even worse, makes them think you aren’t a credible source.

Remember, you’re allowed to ask for help. If you find it challenging to differentiate between This-or-That words like aloud vs. allowed or simply don’t want to worry about getting them wrong in the future, enlist EditorNinja’s professional editing or content writing services. We’ll ensure your writing is clear, correct, and professional. Schedule a no-stress, no-risk, super-friendly discussion with our team to discuss your editing needs today!