English Grammar Basic Similar words

The difference between “precedence” and “precedents”

The difference between“precedence“y“precedents“

“Precedence“y“precedents“they are easy to confuse because they sound identical (that is, they are perfect homonyms). However, their meanings are quite different.

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“Precedence“means priority or preference. It refers to the classification.

  • The Viking warriors sat at the table in order of precedence. ✔️

“A precedent“is an earlier example used to guide a decision (often in law).“precedents“is the plural.

  • This is an important trial because it will set a precedent for many others to follow. So far, no useful precedents for this issue have been identified. ✔️

More about Precedence

El sustantivo precedencia significa prioridad o preferencia. Se refiere a la clasificación o“the status in order of importance or urgency“.

Example sentences with“precedence“:

  • The medics treated them in order of precedence according to their injuries. ✔️
  • The rules that govern the precedence of members of the British Royal Family are complex. ✔️

More about Precedent

El sustantivo“previous one“means“an example from the past that provides evidence for an argument“. It is most commonly used in legal circles, and more specifically can be described as“a previously decided case that guides the decision of a future case“.

Example sentences with“previous one“:

  • Having discovered a similar case in the past, the prosecution team used this precedent to support their argument. ✔️
  • There is precedent with last year’s Smith versus Jones case. ✔️

“Past Precedent“or“Past Precedents“?

The plural“previous one“es“precedents“, which sounds identical to“precedence“. This is the root of the confusion between these two words. More specifically, you should only use the term“past precedent“If it refers to more than one“previously decided case that guides the decision of a future case“. Therefore,“past precedent“(referring to a single lead case) is more common than“past precedent“(multiple guide cases).

Common Terms

Here are some common terms with precedence and precedence:

Common terms with“precedent“:

  • to set a precedent
  • a past precedent
  • a legal precedent

Common terms with“precedence“:

  • in order of precedence
  • to take precedence over something


Like“previous one“means a guide case,“precedents“it is a rare term because it only fits when several guide cases are analyzed, which is an unlikely scenario. As a result,“previous one“is much more common than“precedents“. It should be noted, however, that“no“can take a plural in English, so writing“without precedents“it would be correct. Of course,“without precedents“Also works.

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