What is the difference between severe and severed?

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What is the difference between severe and severed?

The words ‘sever’ and ‘severe’ vary in meaning but also how we can use them in sentences. Let’s look at them separately and see how we can use the two words correctly.

The word severe is used as an adjective, we use it to describe nouns. ‘Severe’ can have two different meanings, it can describe the stern and harsh punishment of a person. The adjective can also describe something that is serious and very bad.

Here are some examples:

  • The murder victim’s family believed that the prison sentence of the convicted murderer wasn’t severe enough, they feel that the judge was too lenient on the murderer.
  • The young man discovered he had a severe shellfish allergy when he went to a seafood restaurant and ate crab for the first time. The allergy was so severe that the man had to be rushed to hospital.

 

‘Severed’ on the other hand, can be used as an adjective to describe something that has been separated from its original place.

For example:

  • After weeks of searching for the missing woman, the search team found a severed hand in the nearby forest that was later identified to be hers.
  • The severed rope was being used to hold the logs of wood together until it snapped, they had to tie the logs together again with a new, sturdier rope.

 

‘Severed’ can also be used as the past tense and past participle of the verb ‘sever’, this verb can also have a few different meanings. To sever something can mean to divide something or cut something into separate parts.

For example:

  • The carpenter severed his left hand when working on a wooden dining table. Luckily, he’s managed to get used to the loss and can still create beautiful pieces with just his right hand.
  • “During last night’s storm, the strong winds caused a lot of damage to property, it even severed a crane in two!” the weather forecaster told her audience.

We can use ‘sever’ when talking about relationships either in business or personal relationships. To sever a relationship means to end or break the relationship

For example:

  • The multinational company had to sever ties with one of their main sponsors after it was revealed that they had been mistreating their employees for years.
  • After years of emotional and physical abuse the woman suffered from her own family, she finally severed the relationship. She couldn’t be part of the family any longer.
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