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Knew vs. New

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2:08 min read
  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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It's important that you never confuse "knew" and "new" because first of all they function as different parts of speech and secondly, of course, they carry completely different significations. Though it's understandable why people are so often tempted to misspell "knew" and "new". These words have literally identical pronunciations.

Check out the correct usage of "knew" and "new" in this article!

Knew vs. New

"Knew" is the past tense form of the irregular verb "to know". When pronouncing "know", you never hear the consonant "k", it is always mute, and this rule is transferred to "knew" as well. This is why, when pronouncing "knew", we actually hear the word as "new". While making a clear distinction between "know" and "now" is easy because the pronunciations are different, it's a little more complicated between "knew" and "new", which sound the same.

Still, it's important you understand which word is actually the one that should be used, according to the context, in order to correctly identify the message and avoid confusions.

When do we use "knew"?

"Knew" is the past tense of the verb "to know" and it refers to having information about something. It is used in active voice expressions, to tell that a person has knowledge about something.

Example: He knew he had to work harder in order to achieve better results. - "knew" is a verb used to illustrate that someone has knowledge/information of something.

When do we use "new"?

Even though it sounds perfectly like the past tense of "to know", new actually defines a completely different concept. It is an adjective and it's used to describe something different from before, something fresh or recently made, or something that was not seen or known before.

Example 1: She needs new pencils to finish her drawing. - "new" refers to something different than before.

Example 2: Their new home is a lot more comfortable and well-organized. - "new" can also refer to something freshly made, recently created/built.

Example 3: They discovered a new pattern in the dog's behavior. - nonetheless, "new" can also describe something that was not seen or known before.


Understanding the difference between "knew" and "new" and identifying the correct word to use is really not that difficult. According to the context, you can easily see whether you should use "knew", referring to a past action of having information, or "new", describing something different and recent. Once you get used to this spelling distinction, it won't even bother you anymore that they sound the same.

Knew vs. New

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