The Grammar Guide Spelling Should I use "taut" or "taught"?

Should I use "taut" or "taught"?

Should I use "taut" or "taught"?

Taut means 'pulled tight' and is an adjective. If you could write 'tight' in place of the word then 'taut' is the correct form.

Synonyms include rigid, tight, and tense. Things that are often described as being taut are skin, ropes, strings, lines, muscles, the voice, bodies, bowstrings, wires, nerves, necks, and drums. For example:

  • The skin was pulled taut across his face.

Taught is the past tense of the verb 'teach', which means 'to impart knowledge', as a teacher would do in a classroom.

Subjects are taught in school. Other things that are often taught are languages, skills, sports, and morals. For example:

  • I taught my son how to play football.
  • I was taught well in school.

Never get stuck knowing how to spell taut or taught again!

Examples of taut in a sentence

Plentitude blouse, trouser, tunic fastened taut cordage, perform dance upon invisible wind music.
- Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk
At each step the chain, pulled taut between his ankles, checked the natural length of his stride.
- Shardik by Richard Adams
I'm taut with apprehension.
- Can you keep a secret? by Sophie Kinsella
He bounced a carlin off the blanket pulled and tucked drum-taut across Rossamünd’s cot.
- Lamplighter by D. M. Cornish

Examples of taught in a sentence

She taught him like a director would.
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
So she taught him that, too.
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
I have been taught by a man with whisky breath how to transmit by morse;
- Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
In fact, most of the women who taught us would have been horrified by the thought.
- Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks

Test yourself

Choose the missing word in each question.