‘Sow' or 'Sew': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 13, 2023

Are you going to ‘sow’ your dress or ‘sew’ your dress? Which is the correct spelling, and what’s the difference between the two? You might be wondering. We’ll answer all of that in this article, plus teach you how to use them both in a sentence.

Need a quick answer? Here it is:

  • ‘Sow’ is a verb and means to plant seed for growth especially by scattering.
  • ‘Sew’ is a verb and means stitching something together, the way a tailor would sew fabric or a doctor sews up wounds.

As you can see, these words mean two different things and should not be used in place of one another.

‘Sew’ vs. ‘Sow’ – What’s the Difference?

As you just learned, there are several differences between these words. The first is obviously the way they’re spelled. The second is their definition.

‘Sew’ means to stitch clothing together or sew a wound closed the way a surgeon would.

Word Choice: ‘Sew,’ ‘Sow,’ or ‘So’?

These homophones all sound the same but mean different things. We already covered what ‘sew’ and ‘sow’ mean.

But what does ‘so’ mean?

‘So’ is an adverb, conjunction, and functions in other ways as well. The uses of this word seem limitless, but the most common definitions are:

  • Very, to such a degree (That tree is so big!)
  • In this way (I’ve set up your toy ponies like so.)
  • In the same way (If I’m dumb, so are you.)
  • In order that (I wash the dishes so I can go out with my friends.)
  • Therefore (I want to listen to music, so I will).

Definition and Meaning of ‘Sow’ and ‘Sew’

So, what does ‘sow’ and ‘sew’ mean?

‘Sow’ could mean several things:

  • an adult female bug
  • the adult female of various other animals (such as a bear)

But it could also mean planting seeds by scattering them, setting them in motion, or spreading them over a wide area.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘sew’ is to stitch, fasten by stitches, or to close or enclose by sewing.

A Brief History

The first known use of the word was before the 12th century, and it meant exactly what it means today.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Sow’ and ‘Sew’

Are you wondering how to pronounce the words? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce the words correctly, take a look at the phonetic spelling: SOH.

How to Use ‘Sow’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what the words both mean and how to pronounce them let’s see some examples of how to use them in a sentence.

  • My mother went out into the garden to sow some potatoes.
  • I sow my own fruits, but it’s not for everyone.
  • I used to sow my own vegetables when I lived in California.
  • I’m not going to sow my own food. Homesteading just isn’t my thing.
  • Why don’t you help me sow these seeds before you go inside?

How to Use ‘Sew’ in a Sentence 

Now let’s see some examples of ‘sew’ in a sentence.

  • My mother used to sew all the holes in my jacket before she’d get me a new one.
  • I was hoping you would sew me a jacket for my cat.
  • Did you sew this yourself? It’s beautiful!
  • My friend used to sew hats, gloves, and scarves and often brought them to the homeless.
  • We learned how to sew as part of Home Economics class in middle school.
  • I never liked to sew. I always felt like we don’t need to since we have sewing machines.

Final Advice on ‘Sow’ and ‘Sew’

To recap, you learned that ‘sow’ and ‘sew’ both sound the same but mean different things, making them homophones. We’ve covered the meaning and given you examples of how to use them in sentences. You should have no trouble creating your own sentences, using the above sentences as a guide.

If you ever get stuck, feel free to come back here. We’ve also got a ton of other content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases you might come across in the English language. Go check it out.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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