Writing for Business

Apr 30 2010   12:45PM GMT

Supersede or supercede?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Many experts predict that cloud computing will completely _______ desktop computing within the not-too-distant future.
a. supersede
b. supercede
c. superseed

Answer: a.

Supersede is the correct spelling. The word means to supplant or take the place of. Supercede is not a word, although you’d think it might be related to intercede and precede. Superseed would be like the ones that grew Jack’s bean stalk.

Like the question in yesterday’s post about augur vs. auger, the idea for this one came from @EditorMark’s Twitter Archive:

For nonseed words ending with a seed sound, “supersede” is unique. Three end in “ceed” and start “ex,” “pro,” and “suc.” Otherwise, “-cede.”

“Cede” words start ac-, con-, inter-, pre-, re-, and se-. And then there is “seed.” Some “seed” words: ani-, lin-, poppy-, rape-, and bird-.

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3  Comments on this Post

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  • Michael Tidmarsh
    Learn more about other grammar questions including the difference between 'do respect' vs. 'due respect'.
    62,155 pointsBadges:
  • tomatrsh
    Sorry, but supercede has been a common form of the word since at least the 1700's if not earlier.  Although generally regarded as an archaic form, "supercede" is a not "not a word", and it is pendantic to regard it as an incorrect spelling.
    10 pointsBadges:
  • frugalscott
    Supercede is a 'common form' because so many people are too stubborn to admit that it is wrong as they feel that it 'should be' correct and it is intellectually lazy to regard it as a correct spelling.
    10 pointsBadges:

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