The Grammar GuideSpellingWhat is the difference between 'sever' and 'severe'?

What is the difference between 'sever' and 'severe'?

What is the difference between 'sever' and 'severe'?

The words sever and severe are often confused because they appear similar. But what is the difference?

Severe means very bad or intense when used as an adjective.

Sever means to cut free when used as a verb.

A good way to remember the difference is Sever cut off (severed) the extra E.

Out of the two words, 'severe' is the most common. It appears about 38 times more frequently than 'sever'.



It's easy to confuse words that are spelled similarly, like severe and sever. Here is the difference.

Severe is an adjective that means "harsh, extremely serious or stern, rigid or critical."

Sever is a verb that means "to separate, cut off, or break off."

Is the correct expression 'to sever diplomatic relations' or 'to severe diplomatic relations'?

You should use 'to sever diplomatic relations'. These phrases are often confused because they are easy to mistype.

What's the correct phrase 'Kuomintang officials resolutely sever' or 'Kuomintang officials resolutely severe'?

The right phrase is 'Kuomintang officials resolutely sever'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

Which is right 'sever diplomatic relations with' or 'severe diplomatic relations with'?

The correct expression is 'sever diplomatic relations with'. These phrases are often confused because they are easy to mistype.

Should I use 'to sever all ties' or 'to severe all ties'?

The correct expression is 'to sever all ties'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

What's the correct phrase 'to sever his connection' or 'to severe his connection'?

The correct expression is 'to sever his connection'. These phrases are often confused because they have a similar spelling.

Should I use 'severe acute respiratory syndrome' or 'sever acute respiratory syndrome'?

You should use 'severe acute respiratory syndrome'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

What's the correct phrase 'severe chronic obstructive pulmonary' or 'sever chronic obstructive pulmonary'?

The right expression is 'severe chronic obstructive pulmonary'. These phrases are often confused because they have a similar spelling.

What's the right phrase 'severe congestive heart failure' or 'sever congestive heart failure'?

You should use 'severe congestive heart failure'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

Which is correct 'severe traumatic brain injury' or 'sever traumatic brain injury'?

The correct expression is 'severe traumatic brain injury'. These phrases are often confused because they look similar.

Which is correct 'severe coronary artery disease' or 'sever coronary artery disease'?

The correct phrase is 'severe coronary artery disease'. These phrases are often confused because they are easy to mistype.

Some synonyms of sever are: disunite, part, divided, separate, break up.

Some synonyms of severe are: hard, dangerous, stark, grave, austere.

Never confuse sever and severe again. Install our free grammar checker browser extension.

The definitions in this article were adapted from Wiktionary.

Dictionary Definition of severDictionary Definition of severe

Examples of sever in a sentence

Briana leaped forward, blade slashing down, trying to sever the whip.
- The King's Buccaneer by Raymond E. Feist
How could he so easily sever that bond?
- Ship of magic by Robin Hobb
If you wanted to kill someone, you wouldn’t try to sever their femoral artery.
- Under Orders by Dick Francis
She had thought leaving India—to Europe first, then to America—would sever their relationship.
- The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson
It's not enough to sever the spine so he chokes to death.
- Special topics in calamity physics by Marisha Pessl

Examples of severe in a sentence

His profile was more severe by moonlight, his skin waxy gray.
- The Jewel Box by Anna Davis
The injury is much too severe.
- An Ordinary Decent Criminal by Michael Van Rooy
When Grandfather's illness became severe, Grandmother stopped inviting anyone over to the house.
- Ship of magic by Robin Hobb
Instead, you seem to be suffering from a severe case of blindness.
- Special topics in calamity physics by Marisha Pessl
Startled perhaps by Yoshino’s severe tone, Mako stopped chewing for a moment.
- Villain by Shūichi Yoshida; Philip Gabriel

Black Friday Sale

Up to

50% off

Browse Offers
Ends Monday, November 30 at 11:59 PST