cite, sight and site - the difference

Cite means to mention or to quote.
Sight relates to vision.
Site means a piece of land or to assign a position to.

Sight, Site, and Cite

The words sight, site, and cite have different meanings, but they sound identical. As a consequence, some writers fail to differentiate between them.


Sight relates to vision. It is the power of seeing (i.e., perception by the eyes). It can also be something that is seen (e.g., What a beautiful sight.)

  • The newborn foal was an emotional sight for all of us.
  • After the laser treatment, her sight was perfect.


The noun site refers to a piece of land (e.g., building site). As a verb, to site means to position in a place (e.g., I will site the slide near the swings.)

  • There are three landfill sites in the local vicinity.
  • Mr Dodds claimed his tools had been stolen from the archaeological site.


The verb cite means to quote, to refer to, to summon to appear before a court of law or simply to mention.

  • The lecturer cited several instances of illegal behaviour.
  • The young inspector was cited for his outstanding achievements.
  • Remember to cite expert opinion to support your points.
 Select an answer to replace the word in bold:


The word site (meaning a piece of land) is the one that causes problems. The most common error relating to these three words is writing sight instead of site.

A site often describes a place where building work is taking place. You can remember the definition of site using the te to remind you of tradesman's entrance. (A site is likely to have a tradesman's entrance.)


If that tradesman's entrance idea doesn't help you, the bottom line is this:

A site is a place (e.g. a building site, a camping site, a website).

Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook Like Us on Facebook
Search Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter

by Craig Shrives Join Our Google+ Circle
Chat about grammar Ask a Grammar Question
Search Search This Site