Sew vs. Sow – What’s the Difference?

If you have a hole in your pants and you need someone to fix it, should you ask the person to sew your pants or sow your pants? You’d better be sure.

In one scenario, you will end up with a nice pair of repaired pants. In the other, not only will your pants still have a hole in them, but they will probably also be buried in the dirt.

Sew and sow are homophones, which means they are pronounced identically but have different spellings and meanings. If you like to wear your pants without having to dig them up first, keep reading for an explanation of these confusing words.

What is the Difference Between Sew and Sow?

In this post, I will compare sew vs. sow and use each word in several example sentences. This way, you can see how it appears in context.

Plus, I will show you a helpful memory tool that makes it easier to choose sew or sow next time you need one of these words for your own writing.

When to Use Sew

sew versus sow What does sew mean? Sew is a verb. It means to stitch material together into garments or other items. A person might sew a dress for a friend, for instance, or if the seam of a jacket tears, someone could potentially sew it back together.

Here are a few more examples,

  • Meria told her grandmother to her sew her some doll clothes for her 6th
  • When you learn to sew your own clothes, you can save thousands of dollars or become a fashionable clothing designer.
  • Todd Shelton, a fashion designer who makes sleek separates and sells them online, sews his clothes at a factory in East Rutherford, N.J. –The New York Times

There are many ways to conjugate sew. Here are a few of the ones you are most likely to find.

Conjugation of Sew

  • I/we sew: first person singular and plural present
  • You sew: second person singular and plural present
  • He/she/it sews: third person singular present
  • They sew: third person plural present
  • Sewing: present participle
  • Sewed: simple past

When to Use Sow

define sow define sewWhat does sow mean? Sow is also a verb. To sow is to scatter seeds on the ground so that they will grow into a crop, which you can later harvest.

Here are some examples,

  • I will sow enough corn to last us through the winter.
  • “You should be out sowing the fields, not hiding in the barn with your banjo!” yelled Farmer Ben.
  • When they come I will not sow all the seeds in the packet, but if by some chance I do and they all germinate I will not plant them all. –The Washington Post

Sow and sew rhyme, and they also rhyme with so.

Sow also has a homograph that rhymes with cow, and refers to an adult female pig. Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently and have different meanings.

Trick to Remember the Difference

definition of sow definition of sew definitionSew refers to the act of stitching fabric into garments, or repairing garments by stitching them back together. Sow refers to planting seeds.

Sow vs. Sew Check: Since sow and crops are both spelled with an O, and you sow seeds to turn them into crops, it is easy to remember to use sow when you are talking about crops.

Summary

Is it sow or sew? Sew and sow are homophones.

  • To sew is to stitch fabric together.
  • To sow is to scatter seeds.

Although they are pronounced identically, they mean different things and are never interchangeable.