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Pedal vs. Peddle (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use pedal and peddle with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

This week, let's look at another grouping of homophones: Pedal and peddle. One of these terms is related to the foot, and the other is related to selling and/or distributing things.

(Grammar rules for writers.)

So let's look at the differences between pedal and peddle.

Pedal vs. Peddle (Grammar Rules)

Pedal vs. Peddle

For the most part, pedal has to do with the foot. It can be used as a noun, verb, or even adjective. In fact, the adjective version means something is related to the foot. As a noun, pedal refers to a lever that is pressed by the foot, such as the pedals on a bike or pedal used on a bass drum or organ. The verb version of pedal refers to the act of using a pedal(s).

(Fair Use Rights 101 for Writers.)

Peddle, on the other hand, is only used as a verb, and it refers to the act of selling and/or promoting something usually (though not always) in a door-to-door or city-to-city type of manner. For instance, someone may peddle funny T-shirts, souvenirs, or paintings at a street stand. There are also times when people may promote (or peddle) information for free. Usually when used in this context, the term peddle is used in a negative sense.

Make sense?

Here are a few examples:

Correct: George found his bike was nearly useless without its pedals.
Incorrect: George found his bike was nearly useless without its peddles.

Correct: At the party, Belinda tried to peddle scented candles and oil.
Incorrect: At the party, Belinda tried to pedal scented candles and oil.

Correct: That one booth at the music convention primarily peddled secondhand pedals for instruments.

I often try to come up with memory tricks to remember terms and keep them straight in the real world. However, I can't seem to devise one to peddle this time around (though I welcome any suggestions in the comments below). As such, you're just going to have to remember: Pedal, whether used as a verb or noun, has to do with the foot, while peddle is the act of selling or promoting something.

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Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

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