Perform vs. Preform

  ramyashankar  —  Grammar Tips


Perform means to showcase one’s skill in something. It can be a dance, song or even an exam. For example,

•  He performed well during the semester exams.

•  The group performs well when they are given sufficient time.

•  Your song performance was really nice.

•  If you perform well in your exams, I will gift you a laptop.

•  This dance was already performed in last year’s annual day celebrations.

•  Most of the students have performed well in Maths.

•  The singer gave a live performance at Times Square on the New Year’s Eve.

‘Performing’ indicates doing an action or a task. When used as a past tense (performed), the word indicates something that has already been presented, done or enacted.

 Perform has been derived from the Old French parfournir or par (through) + fournir (furnish or provide).


Preform is a verb that means something that is already (pre) formed. It generally refers to moulding an object to hold a particular shape before turning it into a final form.

Some examples –

•  The company preforms all its plastics into bottle shape using a mould.

•  There are many preform mould suppliers in the city.

•  He preformed the dough into circular shape.

•  Preformed plastics are easy to use and maintain.

The word preform is mostly used in construction contexts where raw materials are ‘preformed’ before they are given their final shape. It is not as common as the word perform, which we use in every day English.

Here is a sentence that will help you appreciate the difference better –

“The kids were performing their steps on the preformed floor, which was quite dangerous, however they managed well.”