Grammar GuideSpellingWhat is the difference between 'new' and 'knew'?

What is the difference between 'new' and 'knew'?

What is the difference between 'new' and 'knew'?

The words new and knew are often confused because they have the same pronunciation but different meanings. They have the same pronunciation because the "k" in knew is silent. There are completely different parts of speech. We'll help you understand the difference.

New is an adjective (something that adds to the meaning of a noun) and means recently made, or created.

  • These are my new shoes.
  • I have a new shirt on.

Knew is the past form of the verb to know. It means to be aware of something through observation or inquiry.

  • I knew he was wrong.
  • I knew you would find it.

    Out of the two words, new is the most common. It appears about three times more frequently than knew.

What are other homophones for new?

Knew and new are not the only homophones. There are also some rarer ones. The full set of homophones with new in English are: gnu, knew, and nu.

Is the correct phrase 'blaze a new trail' or 'blaze a knew trail'?

The correct phrase is 'blaze a new trail'. These phrases are often confused because they are homophones.

Is the right expression 'new lease on life' or 'knew lease on life'?

The right phrase is 'new lease on life'. These phrases are often confused because they have the same pronunciation but different meanings.

Should I use 'neither knew nor cared' or 'neither new nor cared'?

You should use 'neither knew nor cared'. These phrases are often confused because they have the same pronunciation but different meanings.

Should I use 'who knew how to' or 'who new how to'?

The correct expression is 'who knew how to'. These phrases are often confused because they are homophones.

What's the right phrase 'those who knew him' or 'those who new him'?

The right phrase is 'those who knew him'. These phrases are often confused because they are homophones.

What's the right phrase 'knew better than to' or 'new better than to'?

The correct expression is 'knew better than to'. These phrases are often confused because they are homophones.

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The definitions in this article were adapted from Wiktionary.

Dictionary Definition of newDictionary Definition of knew

Examples of new in a sentence

I’m the new sword instructor, by the way.
- The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
Not all new, she mused;
- The heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts
I'd expect this from a New York tabloid but not splattered across the front page of our paper.”
- Beyond belief by Roy Johansen
When he gets a new one, he buys a bunch of copies, one to read and the rest to put in the vault.
- In the night room: a novel by Peter Straub
That meant new dresses for the twelve bridesmaids.
- Secret Weapon Spouse by B. J. Daniels

Examples of knew in a sentence

He did not know many women well, but he had thought he knew about them.
- Weighed in the balance by Anne Perry
Everyone else knew;
- Cropper's cabin by Jim Thompson
I knew we’d have to fight our way out, but Tammi’s smile was so dazzling it distracted me.
- The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
Devin knew he could hold his own with all three of his brothers, be it with words or fists.
- The heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts
But not even he knew everything.
- Secret Weapon Spouse by B. J. Daniels