Difference Between Proceed and Precede

Main Difference – Proceed vs Precede

Both proceed and precede have similar spellings, pronunciation and definitions. Both verbs imply the idea of forward movement. This meaning also adds to the confusion over these two words. Although both words imply the idea of going forward, there is a distinct difference between proceed and precede. Proceed means to continue or to go forward whereas precede means to be in front of or go before. This is the main difference between proceed and precede.

Proceed – Meaning and Usage

Proceed is a verb meaning to continue or go forward. Proceed comes from Latin procedure meaning go forward. We can use proceed when we are talking about beginning a course of action. For instance, think of a situation where we have to wait for the approval of a plan before we proceed with the work. Proceed, as mentioned above, can also refer to continue or move forward. For example,

His studies are proceeding well.

She has no idea how to proceed, but she used her common sense.

We were able to proceed with our work as usual.

This project cannot proceed without his supervisor’s approval.

Proceed can also be used after an interruption, to indicate that what has been going on earlier should be continued.

After the brief interruption, the speech proceeded.

The conference will proceed as planned despite protests.

Once the protests subsided, the speaker proceeded with his speech.Difference Between Proceed and Precede

Precede – Meaning and Usage

The verb precede means to occur or exist before in time, to be in front of or prior to in order. Precede comes from Latin praecedere made from prae ‘before’  and cedere ‘go’. We usually use this verb when something happens before another action.

The laugh was preceded by a cough.

Any complaints preceding this incident have not been reported.

Strong convictions always precede brilliant achievements. 

Queen Elizabeth I was preceded by Queen Mary I.

A period of silence and calm usually precedes a bout of violence.

An introduction by a critic preceded the film.

We can also use precede to refer to an order or pattern. Here, precede means to come before in order or position. In a book, the introduction is preceded by the content page.

He didn’t read the chapters that precede the recipes.

Precede can also mean go in front or ahead of someone.

The sound of laughter preceded them into the class.

She let them precede her.

Main Difference - Proceed vs Precede

Queen Mary I preceded Queen Elizabeth I.

Difference Between Proceed and Precede


Proceed means to continue or to go forward

Precede means to be in front of or go before.


Proceed comes from Latin procedure meaning go forward.

Precede comes from Latin praecedere made from prae ‘before’  and cedere ‘go’.


Proceed is pronounced as /prəˈsiːd/.

Precede is pronounced as/prɪˈsiːd/Difference Between Proceed and Precede - infograhic

Image Courtesy:

” Queen Mary 1″ By Antonis Mor – Museo del Prado Catalog no. P02108 [1], (Public Domain ) via

“Proceed With Caution Sign” by State Farm  via

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