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How are Grill and Grille different?

Grill and grille are homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same but they are spelled differently and mean different things. When homophones are said out loud, they are pronounced exactly the same. However, they mean completely different things.

Grill vs. Grille

This article will help you understand the differences between grill and grille. I will use these words in a few example sentences. In addition, I will teach you a memory tool to help you decide when to use grill or grille in your own writing.

When should you use grill?

Grill can be either a verb or a noun.

When grill is used as a verbgrill means to cook something or to question intensely.

For example,

  • I am going to grill hamburgers for the 4th of July.
  • The lawyer grilled the witness on the event.

When grill is used as a noungrill means a device for cooking food or a kind of restaurant.

For example,

  • Fire up the grill; let’s make some hotdogs!
  • I’m meeting her at the bar & grill on Main Street.

When should you use grille?

Grille is a noun, which means a protective metal latticeworkGrilles are found on an air conditioner vent and on the front of a car. An imaginative use of the word grille is to refer to the front teeth of a person with multiple gold or silver fillings.

For example,

  • Charlie’s car had a shiny grille, but it was splattered with bugs.
  • The intake was covered with an aluminum grille to stop birds and from getting inside.

It’s important to note that grille does not have anything to do with food. However, a lot of restaurants use grille instead of grill to establish an elevated sense of formality. The chart below graphs grille vs. grill in English books since 1800. 

While this chart isn’t exhaustive, it does illustrate a clear long-term trend.

Despite the fact that grille is sometimes used incorrectly for grill, using grill to describe a protective latticework is still definitely a mistake.

Graphic comparing the definitions and uses of grill and grille

Tip to Remember the Difference

How is grill spelled? If you are talking about food, you should use grill. The one exception to this is if you are talking about a specific restaurant that uses grille in its name. In that case, grille would be used as a proper noun.

  • Grill is the correct spelling of this word when talking about a cooking device or type of restaurant.
  • Grille only refers to a protective metal grid. It is never a verb. 

Philly cheesesteak sandwich is often available at pubs. Do you notice any similarities between Philly and grill? They both have a double but no E. So, you can remember that this spelling of the word involves food.


Should you use grill or grille? Grill and grille are homophones.

  • Grill is either a type of restaurant or a cooking device.
  • Grille is a protective metal latticework.

These words should never be interchanged, but some restaurants use grille anyway. If you forget the difference between grille and grill, return to this article for a helpful reference.


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By Patrice Riley

Patrice Riley is the pen name of Dr. Deborah Riley. She is a retired English professor that enjoys grammar, literature, and all things writing.

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