Word Choice: Feet vs. Feat | Proofed’s Writing Tips

Word Choice: Feet vs. Feat

“Feet” and “feat” are homophones, which means they sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. This can make them confusing. In this post, we explain how to use these words correctly in your writing.

Feet (The Plural of Foot)

“Feet” is the irregular plural form of “foot” and has two common meanings. The first is to refer to the appendages at the end of a person or animal’s legs:

He complained that his feet were aching.

A horse has four feet.

The second is the plural of the imperial unit of length (roughly equal to 30cm), so called because it is about the length of the average human foot:

This ladder is six feet tall.

It must be 100 feet to the bottom of the well.

However, this is where things get a little more complicated! While “feet” is the correct term when used as a noun, as in the examples above, we stick with the singular “foot” when forming a modifier. For example, we would say:

I need a six-foot-tall ladder to reach the shelf.

There is a 100-foot drop to the bottom of the well.

The same applies to other measurements (e.g., “a two-ton vehicle” compared to “this vehicle weighs two tons”), so keep an eye out for this situation!

Nevertheless, whether you’re referring to the body part or the plural of the noun form of the measurement, the correct spelling will be “feet” with a double “e.”

Feat (An Impressive Achievement)

The word “feat” is a singular noun, which describes an act that is remarkable, usually because it involves considerable skill, bravery, or perseverance:

Running a marathon in a chicken costume is quite a feat.

It was an astonishing feat to be awarded a degree at 14 years old.

In this case, the word is always spelled with an “ea” in the middle.

Summary: Feet or Feat?

While “feet” and “feat” sound the same, they have very different meanings:

  • Feet is the plural of “foot” in both the body part and measurement senses.
  • A feat is a remarkable exploit and always singular (the plural is “feats”).

These should be fairly easy to remember since “feat” is always singular and “feet” is always plural. But if you do struggle with the spellings, keep in mind that both the word “feet” and the phrase “more than one foot” contain more than one “e”!

If you’d like more help with homophones or any aspect of grammar or punctuation, moreover, our expert proofreaders are always available. You can even try our service for free when you upload your first document.

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