Pray or Prey?

by Craig Shrives

Pray or Prey?

What is the difference between "pray" and "prey"?
  • "To pray" means to address God or an object of worship (to say a prayer)
  • "To prey on" means to hunt for.
  • "Prey" is the object of an attack.
pray or prey?

Click on the Two Correct Sentences
(Interactive Game)

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More about "Pray" and "Prey"

Occasionally, there is confusion over the words "pray" and "prey." This most commonly occurs with the following terms:

Pray
  • Pray to God
  • Pray tell
  • Pray on (a mat)
  • Praying mantis
  • "Pray" by Take That
Prey
  • Fall prey to
  • Prey on (a deer)

More about "Pray"

The word "pray" is a verb which means "to address God or another deity or object of worship." In other words, it means "to say a prayer."

Examples:
  • Pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon man. (Francis Cardinal Spellman, 1889-1967)
  • You should pray for a sound mind in a sound body. (Juvenal, AD 55-127)

More about "Prey"

The word "prey" can be a verb or a noun. As a verb, "to prey on something" means "to hunt for something," or "to exploit something (usually a person)." As a noun, "prey" is the thing being hunted or exploited.

Examples:
  • Skuas like to prey on Cape Petrel eggs, but Cape Petrels will aggressively defend their nests by ejecting stomach oil at intruders.
  • As well as having a keen sense of smell and being able to feel vibrations, sharks can see well (even at night), so they never have trouble finding their prey.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? cannot or can not? who's or whose? Glossary of easily confused words Glossary of common errors Glossary of grammatical terms What are nouns? What are verbs?