English borrows words from many languages. Sometimes, the spellings of these words do not match traditional English spelling norms, so their pronunciations come as a shock.
It might shock some readers, then, to learn that segue and Segway are actually homophones. They have different meanings, of course, but they are pronounced exactly the same.
Which one should you use? It depends on the context of your writing—both of these words can be nouns, but only one is a verb. Additionally, as you will see, Segway is a noun that is only useful in a very limited context.
What is the Difference Between Segway and Segue?
In this post, I will compare Segway vs. segue. I will discuss the meanings of each word, and I will use each of them in example sentences for contextual reference.
Additionally, I will show you how to use a mnemonic device to remember whether to use segue or Segway next time you are transitioning from one topic to another.
When to Use Segway
What does Segway mean? Segway is a brand of motorized two-wheeled scooters used for enhanced mobility. The company was founded in New Hampshire in 2001 and got its name from a phonetic spelling of the Italian word segue, which means follows.
Segway devices are sometimes, but not always, considered roadworthy, depending on local laws. They are much more common for indoor or pedestrian use.
Here are two examples,
- Ken finally convinced management to buy him a Segway for his long trips from one end of the warehouse to the other.
- While Bolt was taking his latest victory lap in the Bird’s Nest stadium with a Jamaican flag wrapped around his neck, a cameraman riding a Segway scooter ran over a bolt — of all things — protruding from a trackside camera rail. –The New York Times
On the sitcom Arrested Development, the character Gob Bluth, portrayed by Will Arnett, often traveled via Segway.
Since Segway is a proper noun that refers to a specific brand name of scooters, it should always be capitalized.
When to Use Segue
As a noun, segue means a transition from one topic to another.
- The presenter made a smooth segue from a discussion of theory to implications for practice.
- The segue between speakers at the convention was anything but smooth, as presenters fumbled for microphones while smooth jazz played softly in the background.
As a verb, segue means to make such a transition.
- Before we segue into our next discussion, I’d like to open up the floor for questions and comments.
- “Let me just segue into that right now,” answered Bob when Lori asked him an unrelated question.
- Tinker got his start in radio at NBC before segueing into advertising and then television as a writer on Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows.” –The Wall Street Journal
Segue is pronounced like Segway when spoken out loud. But which spelling should you use?
Trick to Remember the Difference
The only appropriate time to use Segway is when you are referring specifically to that brand of mobility device. Any time you refer to a transition between topics, use segue instead.
Remember segue vs. Segway: Since segue and uninterrupted both contain the letter U, and segue refers to an uninterrupted transition, it will be easy to remember when to use segue.
Is it Segway or segue? While these two words are pronounced the same, their meanings are never interchangeable.
- A segue is a transition between two topics. To segue is to perform such a transition.
- Segway is a brand of scooters used for mobility. T
- he two terms can never be substituted for each other.
To conclude, unless you are writing about a company that builds two-wheeled motorized scooters, use segue.