Precede vs. Proceed

...Proceed.I was working on an assignment for school when I realized there was a green little squiggle under the word proceeds in Microsoft Word. Me? Make a grammatical mistake? Noooo! Never (end tongue-in-cheek humor). Ok, so anyway. I realized I used proceeds incorrectly and thus decided to do a post! Keep reading to find out if you’re making mistakes too!


Precede a transitive verb and means “to go before.” For example: “My turn in bowling preceded my brother’s turn.” My turn was before his. Some interesting history: The prefix “pre,” which means “before,” is not added to the English word “cede,” which means “to withdraw or yield.” It is added to the Latin word “cedere,” which means “to go.” So don’t make the mistake that “cede” means “to go.”


Proceed is an intransitive verb and means “to go forward” and to continue an action after a pause. It does NOT mean to go after, which is a very common misconception. Do not confuse proceed with proceeds, which is a noun refers to the amount of money brought in from a sale. An example of using proceed would be: “After eating dinner, he proceeded to eat dessert.” After eating dinner, he went forward to eat dessert. There is a pause between eating dinner and eating dessert. As with precede, proceed is formed from the prefix “pro,” which means “forward,” and the Latin word “cedere”, which, you guessed it, means “to go”.

Final Thoughts

An easy way to remember proceed/preceeds is by the prefix. “Pre” means “before” and “pro” means to “forward [after a pause].” Therefore, PREcede means “to go before” and PROceed means “to go forward.” Good luck!

Posted in Grammar Quick Fix.

One Comment

  1. That was very helpful. I’ve always had trouble and now it’s clear as day.
    Couldn’t have done my work without teachings such as this.
    Thx a million!

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