How to choose the right word – SORT or SOUGHT?

Say both of the words out loud…SORT…SOUGHT. Similar sound – but different meanings and use!

olivetti lettera 32

Are you feeling out of SOUGHTS trying to SOUGHT out whether to use SOUGHT or SORT?

I won’t mention any names –  but I recently read a writer’s “bio” claiming that the writer was  a “sort after” talent.

What sought of writer confuses SORT and SOUGHT? 🙂

Maybe the writer is a good SOURT (An expression for “good looking”)

Anyway, the correct word choice is:

1. SOUGHT-after – not SORT-after  – sought is the past tense of seek – So to be sought-after – is for people to SEEK you.

OR:  He sought help – he was looking for or seeking help.

2. What SORT of writer

3. a good SORT

4. and the sentence at the start of this post:

Are you feeling out of SOUGHTS trying to SOUGHT out whether to use SOUGHT or SORT? should be:

Are you feeling out of SORTS trying to SORT out whether to use SOUGHT or SORT?

English is a confusing language – even for native-English speakers – and especially for people who come from a different language background.

There are so many words that sound similar – SORT/SOUGHT, COURT/CAUGHT,PAW/POOR.

I’m an Australian – yet I respect how many Americans often emphasise their Rs in words  so the words above DO sound a little different from each other.

Aussies often pronouns the Rs as -AHs. Car = CAH, Beer = Be-AH.


When I studied journalism in the US , I could he-AH how the Aussie accent can be confusing to American E-AHs. Oh De-AH!

I found some US accents have a similar sound to Australian on those words like  Car = C-AH    (think JFK speeches and that Mayor in The Simpsons!)

olivetti CU

The way I remember the difference is to think that:

1. a SOUGHT-after person (in a positive sense) is “well THOUGHT of”

2. What SORT of writer – what TYPE or KIND of writer. Type and Kind are short words – so is SORT!

Most of the time – SORT will be the correct word.

word nerd CU

I hope this helps you sort SORT from SOUGHT – and you’ll know that the correct wording is SOUGHT-after.


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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.



tony biancotti


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