‘Rode’ vs. ‘Road’: What’s the Difference?

By Kelsey Weeks, updated on July 24, 2023

The words ‘rode’ and ‘road’ sound the same, but they do not mean the same thing. When speaking, you can get away with using either, but when writing, one must learn the difference between the two. ‘Rode’ vs. ‘road’ will be examined in depth. 

If you need a fast overview: 

  • ‘Rode’ can be used as the past tense of a ride. 
  • ‘Road’ means a course or a path.  

‘Rode’ and ‘road’ are quite common words. Finish this piece if you would like the directions and clarification on when to use which when writing.    

What is the Difference Between ‘Rode’ and ‘Road?’  

‘Rode’ and ‘road’ are homophones, a term for English words that sound similar but have different meanings. These are words that you will learn to understand with time and use, so do not be afraid to try and learn.  

  • For example, ‘rode,’ which means to travel. This is the past tense form of ride. If you can replace ride in a present tense sentence, then you should use ‘rode’ over ‘road.’

For example:

“I am going to ride the horse.” Or “I rode the horse.”  

  • Whereas ‘road’ is a path. ‘Roads’ are for traveling, so if someone ‘rode’ something, it is typically on a ‘road.’ 

Definition of ‘Rode': What Does it Mean?  

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘rode’ is a verb.

  • It is the past tense and chiefly dialectal past participle of a ride.

Due to it being the past tense of the ride, here is what ride means:  

  • To sit and travel on the back of an animal that one directs 
  • To travel in or on a conveyance 
  • To travel as if on a conveyance 
  • To travel over a surface 
  • To move on the body 
  • To continue without interference 
  • To become bet 
  • To be contingent 

Synonyms of ‘Rode’  

  • Traveled
  • Journeyed
  • Sat on 
  • Controlled
  • Steered 
  • Moved 
  • Progressed
  • Drove
  • Cycled 
  • Galloped  
  • Proceeded 
  • Toured 

Antonyms of ‘Rode’  

  • Sat 
  • Settled 
  • Sank 
  • Descended 
  • Lingered 
  • Receded 
  • Fell 
  • Stood still 
  • Stopped 
  • Stayed 
  • Remained 

Definition of ‘Road': What Does it Mean?  

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘road’ is a noun.

As a noun, it means:

  • Roadstead. 
  • An open way for vehicles, persons, and animals 
  • A route or ay to an end, conclusion, or circumstance 
  • Railway
  • A series of scheduled visits or appearances in several locations or the travel necessary to make these visits.  

Synonyms of ‘Road’  

  • Avenue 
  • Boulevard 
  • Drag 
  • Drive
  • Expressway
  • Route
  • Street
  • Thruway 

Antonyms of ‘Road’  

  • Detour 
  • Deviation 
  • Circumvention 
  • Indirect course 
  • Alternate route 
  • Deflection 

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Rode’ and ‘Road’ 

It is important to learn how to pronounce words so that you can use English words in writing and when speaking. This will help make you confident in the usage of the word, no matter the circumstance.

Although the meanings are different for these words, they are homophones, so they sound the same.  

  • The phonetic spelling of 'rode' and ‘road’ is: 


When to use ‘Rode’ vs. ‘Road’ 

Here are examples of when to use ‘rode’ and ‘road.’ 

  • Use ‘rode’ when writing in the past tense about riding.

In this example, you could write: 

We ‘rode’ through the night to miss most of the traffic. 

  • Use ‘rode’ when writing about someone ensuring you are on track.

For example, one can say: 

My boss ‘rode’ me on this last assignment to ensure that I completed it.  

  • You can use ‘road’ when writing about taking a certain path.

As an example, someone may say: 

She typically takes that ‘road’ to work, but the construction work closes it.   

  • You can also use ‘road’ to talk about where someone is.

You may say to someone: 

The band is on the ‘road,’ and they will be for the next three months.  

Sample Sentences Using 'Rode'  

Review these sample sentences to learn to use ‘rode’ when speaking and writing. 

  • They rode their four-wheelers through the rough terrain and went through a patch of mud that had them stuck out in the woods for a bit of time.  
  • He rode his horse through the trail up the mountain because it was a trail that they had taken many times. He believes it is the horse’s favorite trail. 
  • She rode through Atlanta on her trip, always regretting every second because of the immense traffic there. 
  • The class rode on a train to get to their field trip destination. Most students had never been on a train before, so it was part of the experience and opportunity for the students.  
  • Although the boss was known for being kind, they sometimes rode their employees to help them stay motivated. This was accepted because of their consideration of other areas.  
  • We rode the biggest ride the park had repeatedly until the park closed. The employees thought that we would eventually give up or get sick, but we were determined to break the record of how many times one could ride in a day.  

Sample Sentences Using 'Road'  

Review these sample sentences to learn how to use ‘road’ when writing about pathways. 

  • The road splits up ahead, so make sure that you stay to the right. This will keep us on track to our destination.  
  • I know that there are many ways that I can take to get there, but I want to take the back road. There is no traffic on that route, and I find it to be scenic.  
  • She is known for taking the road less traveled in life, and it works out for her. She gets the space to do her independent thinking and still accomplishes what she has set out to do.  
  • The family went on the road for the summer. They are unsure of their destinations, but they will at least be able to explore and have time together as a family.  
  • The construction crew is building four new roads through the town to give people a better flow of traffic. This town is expanding, so they are doing their best to accommodate.  

Closing Words on ‘Rode’ vs. ‘Road’ 

A recap on ‘rode’ and ‘road’: 

  • The words are homophones which means that they sound the same but are different. 
  • ‘Rode’ is the past tense of a ride.  
  • ‘Road’ is a path or route.  

To review, ‘rode’ and ‘road’ are pronounced the same but have different meanings. This is crucial information when writing so that you will be understood. Tenses of words can help you to remember which is which because ‘road’ does not have a past tense.  

All posts on our website explain how to use tricky words correctly. Check back frequently to reduce the errors in your writing. You can find additional resources on English words in the confusing words section. 

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Written By:
Kelsey Weeks
Kelsey Weeks is currently a school counselor at a high school and a previous English teacher. She loves helping others with literacy, learning more, and exploring nature. She has an undergrad in English with an emphasis on secondary education and an M.A. in Applied Psychology from NYU.

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