The words cereal and serial are two words in English that can often be difficult to know when to use. The words sound the same, and are spelled similarly, so it can be tricky to know when to use each one. So how do you know?
Although they seem so alike, cereal and serial have completely different meanings. Cereal is a noun and always refers to a kind of food. Serial, while it can be a noun, is most often an adjective, and means that things are in a certain order, like in a list, or that something repeats, and usually at specific times.
To help you understand each word better, let’s take a look at some definitions and examples!
The word cereal does not have that many meanings. It is always used as a noun and refers to food made from grains, like corn or wheat, or the grains themselves.
Cereal can refer to starchy grains like corn and wheat themselves. Both are known as "cereal grains."
The word cereal can also refer to many other types of plants, usually grasses, which are used to make food.
The word cereal can also mean the food that is produced from those grains. These foods are usually called breakfast cereals. Oatmeal and cornflakes are examples of breakfast cereals. The sugary breakfast foods marketed to children are also a popular example of cereal.
The word serial can also be a noun. When it is, it refers to something like a book or television show or other publication that is produced in parts, or one at a time, over a period of time. Each episode is a part of the whole "series."
Usually serial is used as an adjective.
The most common definition of serial is something that repeats, usually at specific times. The television show that is "a serial," can also be described as being serial, because it is recurring, or happens repeatedly. Serially, which is an adverb, can also be used to mean this.
Serial also describes things as being in a certain order, or certain place in a list or group of other things. A "serial number" is meant to identify what order something is in within a larger series.
Serial can also mean in relation to a series of similar actions. This definition is often used when talking about criminals, like serial killers, who commit the same type of crime many times.
To help yourself remember the difference between cereal and serial, just remember that serial means that something repeats or has a certain place in a list of things, while cereal is always a kind of food, and usually for breakfast, like Cheerios. Cheerios are a breakfast food that start with "c" just like cereal. Or you can think of your own favorite food that starts with "c" to help you remember the difference!
Casey gets up and goes to the kitchen to eat breakfast. She decides to have some cereal because it is her favorite. She pours a bowl of corn flakes with milk. As she eats, Casey watches the news and sees that the police just caught a serial killer. She changes the channel to watch her favorite serial drama. There is a new episode every week at the same time and she never misses one. She is a serial watcher.
Casey goes to work. She is a farmer of wheat and other cereals. When she gets to work, she finds out that her tractor is broken. Casey writes down the tractor’s serial number and types it into her computer to see how to fix that specific type of tractor. She fixes it and starts to serially cut all the rows of wheat, one after the other, until she cuts the entire field. She is going to sell all of the cereal to a factory that makes the breakfast cerealshe likes to eat in the morning. She has eaten the same cereal every day for twenty years, so you could say she is also a serial cereal eater!
Answer the following 10 questions and then check your answers. Each question is worth 10 points.
Part 1: 1. C | 2.D | 3.B | 4. A
Part 2: 1. B | 2.B | 3.A | 4.C | 5.C | 6. D