Allowed vs. Aloud

What is the difference?

English has a lot of words which students find confusing. The words allowed and aloud are commonly confused words because they are homophones.

Homophones are words which sound the same, but they have different meanings. That means that words allowed and aloud have the same pronunciation, but they mean different things, and furthermore they are different parts of speech.

Here are some explanations which will help you understand the difference between these two commonly confused words.

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses


When you speak aloud, other people can hear you, so therefore the meaning of aloud is loudly, using your voice in a way that other people can hear it.

The boy reads aloud

The word aloud is an adverb of manner, which means that it modifies a verb.

Here are some examples showing how this word is used. 

  1. The author read aloud from his book.

    The author reads aloud
  2. She laughed aloud at his joke.

    She laughed aloud
  3. Please, read this passage aloud.

    Reading aloud
  4. The scared child called aloud for help.[IMAGE]

  5. Your pronunciation may improve if you read aloud.

    Pronunciation may improve
  6. Don’t read aloud. You are disturbing everyone in the room.

    Don't read aloud


The word allowed is the past tense and also the past participle of the verb allow. The meaning of this verb and examples describing how to use this word properly are shown in the table below.


To give permission        

He was allowed to take a seat.
Smoking is allowed here.

Smoking is allowed

To make something possible

His new book allowed me to understand Japanese culture better.

The money I earned this month allowed me to buy a new computer.

Buying a new computer

To use a particular amount of time or money for something

You will be allowed one hour to complete the test.

They will be allowed ten dollars for their snacks.

Allowed ten dollars for snacks


Aloud can also be replaced with "out loud" because "out loud" also means using your voice so that others can hear you. Try replacing the word in your sentence with "out loud" to see if you actually need aloud or allowed in your sentence. If you can replace it, then the word you need in your sentence is aloud.

For example:

He allowed me to enter the room.
He out loud me to enter the room. (INCORRECT)

(The sentence does not make sense, we cannot use "out loud" here because he let me enter the room, he made it possible for me to enter the room.)

Read aloud this passage.
Read this passage out loud. (CORRECT)

(Here you can replace these two words. The sentence makes sense. We want it to be heard by others, so we replaced aloud with out loud.)

A story to practice Allowed vs. Aloud

All the students are really nervous about their English exam. They have been studying all night because they know that their final test is going to be difficult. Their teacher, Ms. Walker, enters the classroom and greets them with a broad smile. She says: "Today you are taking your final test. I want you to remember some rules when it comes to taking this test." Ms. Walker starts writing on the board:

You are not allowed to use your mobile phones.
You are not allowed to cheat in this test.
You are not allowed to eat while taking this test.
You are not allowed to drink while taking the test.
You are not allowed to talk with other students while doing the test.

Ms. Walker is a strict teacher and she wants to make sure that her students know all the rules. She reads the rules aloud to make sure they know what they are not allowed to do. One student is whispering to another student and Ms. Walker sees it. She asks: "Mr. Adams, can you please say that aloud?"

Mr. Adams stands up and asks the question aloud. "I would like to know how much time we will be allowed for the test."

Ms. Walker thanks him saying it is a good question. "You will be allowed two hours for this test. Thank you for sharing your question aloud."

The students read the rules once again and start taking the test. At the end of the test, Ms. Walker is really pleased with their behavior and she says to herself: "They are good students."

One student sees that and asks her to repeat that aloud. She smiles at him saying: "Yes, of course.  I think you are good students."

Good students


Answer the following 10 questions and then check your answers. Each question is worth 10 points.

In the following sentences choose the word which you think is correct:

  1. Driving fast in this area is not _______________ (aloud/allowed).

  2. Please, do not read _______________ (aloud/allowed). You are disturbing everyone in the classroom.

  3. We are not _______________ (aloud/allowed) to serve alcohol to anyone who is under 18.

  4. It was a beautiful morning and the birds were chirping _______________ (aloud/allowed).

  5. They talked _______________ (aloud/allowed) in the meeting and their boss was really angry.

  6. Unfortunately, my parents are angry with me. I am not _______________ (aloud/allowed) to come to your birthday party on Saturday.

  7. In pubs in England you are not _______________ (aloud/allowed) to smoke inside.

  8. Sally received a nice letter and she wanted to share it with her family so she read it _______________ (aloud/allowed).

  9. All the students were really happy because the teacher _______________ (aloud/allowed) the class extra ten minutes to spend in the playground.

  10. When we were younger, my mother would always read ____________(aloud/allowed) to us.

Answer Key

  1. Allowed
  2. Aloud
  3. Allowed
  4. Aloud
  5. Aloud
  6. Allowed
  7. Allowed
  8. Aloud
  9. Allowed
  10. Aloud

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