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Great vs. Grate

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips

Some people might be surprised to hear that this is a problem for certain writers, but for English language learners and those who have only heard the word spoken, the confusion makes a little more sense.

In this post, I want to compare great vs. grate. I will go over each spelling and outline what is the meaning of each of them. Plus, at the end, I will give you a helpful tip to remember the correct spelling for the future.


The word grate originated from late Middle English: from Old French grater, of Germanic origin; related to German kratzen ‘to scratch’. The word great originated from Old English grēat ‘big’, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch groot and German gross.

Grate as verb:

Grate as verb means to reduce (food) to small shreds by rubbing it on a grater.

She bought some grated cheese.

Grate also means to make an unpleasant rasping sound.

The hinges of the door grated.

When something have an irritating effect it is also called grate.

The buzzing sound grated on her nerve.

Great as adjective:

Great is used as adjective which means of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above average.

The article was of great interest.

Great as noun:

Great is also used as a noun which means an important or distinguished person.

The Beatles, Bob Dylan, all the greats.


A metal grate has been put in place of the missing piece and at least 14 locks have been added to it since the incident. (The Las Vegas Review Journal)

When you’re ready, it’s time to re-add the silica sand and new glowing embers to the bottom of your fireplace grate. (The Valley News)

Scott Diehl, director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, said: “Every year we get at least two or three raccoons with their heads stuck like this; it’s this particular style of grate that does it. (The Mirror)

As kids, they would help grate cheese and clean tables, but there was one aspect to the business they rarely got to partake in when they were young. (The Longview News-Journal)

“It’s just a great sense of relief,” he said. (The Globe and Mail)

Newspapers were running satires on the “Great Emu War”, picture theatre patrons in Sydney were revolted by footage showing birds fleeing the machine gun or wounded. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

The Great Walks are routes featured by the country’s Department of Conservation (DOC) for their “diverse and spectacular scenery.” (The Seattle Times)

Great or grate:

Great and grate are both homophones that sound the same but have different meanings. Great is an adjective and a noun which means something superior or important. Grate is verb which means reducing something to small shreds or an irritating noise.

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