Although the words ‘chute’ and ‘shoot’ are spelled differently, they sound the same way. And homophones like these can be confusing. In this post, we’ll explain the difference so you’ll always know which one to use in your writing.
Chute (Sloping Tube or Trough)
‘Chute’ is most commonly a noun that describes a sloping tube or trough through which something (or somebody) can slide:
The best thing about the swimming pool was the water chute.
He put the dirty clothes into the laundry chute.
More rarely, it can also be an informal version of ‘parachute’.
Shoot (Fire a Weapon or Move Quickly)
‘Shoot’ has many uses as both a verb and a noun. As a verb, these include:
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Fire a projectile weapon (e.g. He couldn’t shoot the moving target).
Try to score in a sport (e.g. Every time she shoots, she scores).
Move quickly in a single direction (e.g. They watched the car shoot forward).
Use a camera (e.g. He shot the video while on holiday).
As a noun, meanwhile, this word can refer to an occasion where a camera is used (e.g. fashion shoot, movie shoot) or where weapons are fired recreationally (e.g. a skeet shoot). But its most common use as a noun is to refer to new growth on a plant, especially the first part to appear above the ground:
Daffodil shoots appear in late winter.
‘Shoot’ has some other uses, too, as this is a very versatile word! But most of them are related to either firing a weapon or moving quickly in one direction.
Summary: Chute or Shoot?
When you need to decide which spelling to use, remember:
A chute is a sloping channel that takes things (or people) to a lower level.
To shoot usually means to fire a weapon or move quickly in one direction.
Perhaps the key point here is that ‘chute’ has fewer meanings that ‘shoot’. Thus, if you can remember that ‘chute’ is almost always a noun that refers to a sloping channel, you should be able to remember the difference between these words.
If you’d like any more help with spelling or word choice, our proofreaders are always available. We’ll even proofread your first document for free.