English grammar is magical, but one such part of English grammar that is startling on its own is homophones- what is spelled and used differently but sound strikingly similar. But more often, these are confusing. One such pair is the words Serial and Cereal. These words, when pronounced, seem to be similar but, in reality, are distinctly different.
Serial vs Cereal
The main difference between Serial and Cereal is that serial is a word that means that some things which we arrange in a specific design, can be repetitive or non-repetitive. On the other hand, cereal is a grass that is grown to consume the edible parts of the crop. We often refer Cereals to as the morning breakfast.
Serial is a word that acts both as a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it can refer to some shows on television produced by a channel or a book series. While we mostly use it as an adjective, it simply means a list that can be repetitive. Serial follows a specific pattern, for instance, the list of serial numbers.
Cereals (Noun) are grains specifically grown/ cultivated so that the edible parts of the Cereal, such as the endosperm, can be consumed. We can grow many types of cereals, but every cereal has one thing in common- all cereals are equally nutritious. They are the best breakfast anyone can ask for.
Comparison Table Between Serial and Cereal
|Parameters of Comparison||Serial||Cereal|
|Type||Noun and Adjective||Noun|
|Definition||Noun- Show or Book Adjective- List/ Catalogue||Noun- Type of Grain/ Grain Crop|
|Can Also refer to||Serial Killers||Any other Grass, Cereal Grain|
|Example||Any Crime Novel Series, Serial Numbers, etc.||Corn, Wheat, Pearl Millet, etc.|
|In Sentences||The new serial killer in the town is petrifying||A bowl of cereal in the morning leads to a longer life.|
What is Serial?
As mentioned above, serial is a word that falls in the category of a noun and an adjective. We use it as an adjective to describe a list of something following a pattern, for instance, the set of serial numbers. When used as a noun, it usually describes a serial novel, or show that contains several episodes in a particular order.
When we use the word serial as a noun, it refers to a book or a show. The author publishes the serial novel/ novel series at equal intervals and takes a long period. Most of the time, these serial novels do not have a specific ending, as the following part should appear as a continuity.
Similarly, when it refers to a TV show, each episode takes time, and it collectively includes all the episodes under the term ‘Series’ Thus, when a TV show runs for many years, we term it as a serial as it occurs recurrently for the said period and it follows a pattern.
The word serial could also mean some actions occurring in a similar pattern. For instance, Serial Killers follow the same or similar style by using the same mode of killing but on different victims. They may use the same location or the same weapon, but every Serial Killer follows a pattern of their own.
The word serial can also describe a sub-category or sub-list of something huge. For instance, the word Serial Number is a small sub-category of the list of numbers that goes up to infinity.
What is Cereal?
Aforementioned, Cereal is a word that is only used as a noun and often refers to a grain crop that is cultivated to consume its edible parts. Examples of cereal are corn, wheat, oats, Pearl Millet, etc. We can also refer to cereal as the grain itself rather than the grain crop, also called Cereal Grain. A wide range of edible crops falls under the category of cereals.
Cereal crops are the most nutritious in the world of crops, thus we often include them at breakfast to maximize the benefit. Cereal in its original form contains vital minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, which make it full of nourishment.
The cultivation of cereal grains dates back to 8,000 years ago. Initially, wheat was the only cereal that was cultivated. Later on, they added corn, rice, millet to the list. The word cereal comes from a Roman origin as the word sounds similar to one of their agricultural goddesses.
The Green Revolution in the 20th Century boosted the cultivation of cereals, they cultivated rice and wheat on a different level. Green Revolution accounts paramount share of the cultivation we witness today.
Cultivation of all the Cereals occurs almost simultaneously, with few exceptions. Mostly all the Cereal crops grow annually, one cultivation is equivalent to one harvest.
Main Differences Between Serial and Cereal
- Serial is a list or a catalog representing something in a repetitive pattern, whereas cereal is a grain crop peculiarly grown to consume the edible parts of the crop.
- Serial falls under the category of both a noun and an adjective. Cereal falls under the category of a noun.
- A Serial can also refer to a criminal act such as a Serial Killer, whereas cereals can also refer to various grasses cultivated.
- Examples for the word Serial include Serial Numbers, Serial Killers, Serial Novels, etc., while examples for the word Cereal include Corn, Wheat, Rice, Millet, etc.
- We can use the word serial in a sentence as ‘This new serial novel is engrossing. While we can use cereal in a sentence as ‘This year the cultivation of cereals like rice and wheat are the highest.
From the above points, although the words Serial and Cereal sound strikingly similar, but are poles apart in definition, use, and various other parameters. While learning in English-speaking classes, they may not teach these differences as the pronunciation of these words is similar, yet when composing a written piece of work such as an article or a research paper, these make an enormous difference.
Serial is a word that represents a catalog or list of certain things, whereas cereal is a word that is related to food or grains. We cannot use these words as a replacement for each other but can use them in their unique way.