Grammar Bite #13: Use of ‘proceed’, ‘process’ & ‘precede’

7 July 2011


Many confuse these three verbs: proceed, process & precede. How can you be sure you’re using them correctly?


Let’s look first at their definitions.


Proceed means to start or continue after a pause or delay. It also means to move forward or travel in a particular direction. It is most commonly followed by with or from.

Let’s proceed with the meeting.

When the light turns green, proceed with caution.

Perhaps we should ask the boss on how to proceed from here.


Common mistake: We will proceed your application within 5 working days.


Process means to handle documents or information officially. It’s also used to talk about changing industrial materials like iron or coal into other products. It is often followed by a noun.

Your application for a loan will take two weeks to process.

We will process your university application within one month.

This factory processes porcelain decorative items.


Correction to the mistake above: We will process your application within 5 working days.


Precede means to go before something or someone in time or space.

Tung Che Wah preceded Donald Tsang as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive.

The conference was preceded by planning meetings for the workshop leaders.



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