Ketchup vs. Catsup (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use ketchup vs. catsup with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.
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Learn when to use ketchup vs. catsup with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

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Happy Thanksgiving! In the United States, today is a great day for running turkey trots, napping on couches, watching parades and football games (and dog shows), and eating a lot of comfort food—sometimes with ketchup. Or is it catsup? Let's take a look.

(Click here to view our 12 most popular grammar posts.)

Ketchup vs. Catsup

Ketchup is a sauce comprised mostly of tomatoes and vinegar that is typically used as a condiment on various foods, including hamburgers and french fries.

Catsup is a sauce comprised mostly of tomatoes and vinegar that is typically used as a condiment on various foods, including hamburgers and french fries.

So yeah, they're both the same thing.

(Click to learn same vs. similar.)

Make sense?

Here are a few examples:

Correct: We put ketchup on our fries.
Also correct: We put catsup on our fries.

Correct: We put ketchup, also known as catsup, on our hamburgers.
Incorrect: We put ketchup, also known as catsup, on our hot dogs.

(Just kidding; that's a proper use of the words ketchup and catsup too—but I was raised to put mustard on hot dogs.)

Ketchup is the more familiar term, popularized by the marketing of the H.J. Heinz Company in the late 19th century, but catsup is a term still used from time to time and means the same tomato-based condiment.

Learn more in the online course, Grammar and Mechanics, from Writer’s Digest University:

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