“Sew” vs “Sow”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

If you’re a farmer who just finished making his ridges for cultivation, do you sew or sow it? Do you sow or sew seeds? 

The words can be confusing to some people because both words sound exactly the same.

Although they sound identical, the words sew and sow mean different things. 

To help your writing be free from errors, read this guide. 

Let’s examine the difference between sew vs sow comparing their meaning. We’ll also show examples of how to use them in sentences.

Meaning of Sew

Stitch with a Needle and Thread

Sew is a verb that has just one meaning to stitch with needle and thread.

For example:

I am going to sew pockets onto my gown.

Sew is an irregular verb, too, which means it has other forms. The past tense can be either sewn which is its past participle or sewed which is the simple past tense.

See also: When to Use “Passed” vs “Past”: Definitions and Examples


To plant Seeds

Sow is also a verb that means to plant seeds.

For example;

The farmer sowed the field with maize.

Sow can also be used as a metaphor to mean set in motion. This is used for emotions that grow in intensity.

For example;

His words were enough to sow doubts in my mind.

Finally, “sow” can be used as a noun where it means a female pig.

For example;

The sow wallowed in the mud all day.

The noun sow is pronounced in such a way that it rhymes with now.

When the noun sow is written, it rhymes with low. 

Sew vs. Sow—What’s the Difference?

Did you know that Sew and sow are both verbs?

However, the differences in meaning is enormous.

In spelling, the difference is an o and e.

Sew with an means stitching fabrics together with a sewing machine, needle, or thread. 

Sew can also be a verb phrase or an idiom sew something up meaning to bring something to a good decision, to complete successfully or to gain total control over something.

Sow is a verb meaning to plant seeds on the ground. Nowadays, people use sow to spread other things, such as rumors and cheer.

Sow is a homograph with cow. It rhymes with cow to mean an adult female pig. Homographs have the same spelling but different meanings and pronunciations.

See also: Point of View vs Perspective: Differences and Examples for Writers

Are Sow and Sew Pronounced the Same?

Sew and sow have similar pronunciations because they are homophones. 

Homophones are words with different spellings and meanings but the same pronunciations.

Is it Reap What You Sow or Sew?

To reap what you sow is the correct phrase. This idiom refers to going through what one caused others to go through. 

According to this saying, the things you do now determine the outcomes of your circumstances in the future.

Is Sow Past Tense of Sew?

No, the verbs sew and sow are not the same. While sow is used to plant seeds, sew is used to stitch materials. 

In other words, we sow seeds and stitch clothes. 

Sew and Sow in a Sentence

Here are some sentences that use the words “sew” and “sow” in a sentence.

  • The native tribe meets twice a week to discuss sewing projects related to traditional attire.
  • Ask the seamstress if she can sew this style.
  • She learned how to sew a button on her cardigan today.
  • “The last time I sewed before I got this machine was probably in fourth grade in my home economics class,” she said. “I was terrible. I couldn’t even sew a button

Here are examples of sow in a sentence.

  • My father sows the seeds of the house plants.
  • We’ve been sowing corn every year during this month.
  • Try sowing three bushels of flour.

See also: “Over” vs “More Than”: How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Summary: Sew vs Sow?

We know that the words sound alike but they have different meanings.

Sew is a verb meaning “join two things using a needle and thread.”

Sow is a verb that means “plant.” As a noun, it is a female pig. It is rarely used as a noun. In its noun form, sow is pronounced to rhyme with “now.”

If you can remember that “sew” means “stitch” and “sow” means “plant,” it should be easy to tell the words apart. 


Sew and sow are words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings. We hope that after reading this guide you can tell part sew vs sow.