Make Your Editor Cry: A different track vs. A different tack

Make Your Editor Cry:  A different track vs. A different tack

The correct phrase has its origins in nautical navigation during the days of sail. The idiom means to take a different approach with a tack describing whether the wind is hitting the port or starboard side of the main sail.

If you change tack or try a different tack, you try a different approach to deal with a situation.

There is no room for the word tacks in this context since this is singular and has to do with a linear progression, nor does this have anything to do with tracks which are typically circular or oval–as in a closed circuit.

The correct phrase is “take a different tack” or “change tack” as you can see in the examples that follow.


After explaining that the “R” in MRI originally stood for “Radioactive” and not “Resonance”, he saw nothing but puzzled stares.


He decided to try different tack.

He decided to change tack.

He took a different tack.

He changed tack.


He decided to try different track.

He decided to change track.

He changed tacks.

He changed tracks.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

What is 6 + 4 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)