CS Sealey

New Zealand-based sub-editor, writer and author

The difference between sight, site and cite

TLDR: Sight is for seeing, site is for websites and building sites, and cite is for making references in essays.

sight (noun)—the ability of seeing; the thing that is seen

My mother lost her sight in a car accident.

Josie wasn’t going to let the puppy out of her sight for an instant!

The big red tractor was a familiar sight on the farm.

sight (verb)—to see; in reference to the sights of a gun or optical instrument

‘Let me know when you sight a good lookout,’ Dad said, ‘then we can stop for a photo.’

The soldier sighted down the barrel of his rifle.

site (noun)—an area of ground upon which something is constructed; (colloquial) a website

The two boys snuck into the construction site and had a poke around.

The site chosen for the Olympic Stadium was situated beside the river.

‘I check your site every day!’ Lisa said eagerly. ‘I’m a massive fan!’

cite (verb)—to mention or refer to something in an argument; to praise someone, usually in the military

Ben cited the Oxford English Dictionary in his last assignment.

The college was cited in the newspaper as one of the leading educational institutions in the country.

Rimmer was cited for bravery against the GELF in the battle. (Unlikely, but he can dream.)

All together now!

Jeremy cited the OH&S regulations, explaining that the worker who had lost his sight in an accident on the construction site should have been wearing safety goggles.

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