To follow rules and laws is to obey. This verb is used when describing activity related to behavior.

simplepastpast participle
  • Steve obeys the law when he drives his car.
  • Helen doesn’t obey the law when she drives. She often gets pulled over by the police.
  • Obeying the law is not that hard to do.
  • Do you obey the speed limit when you drive?
  • If you obey the rules of this company, you’ll do well; if you don’t obey the rules, you’ll get fired.
  • Joan obeyed her diet for as long as possible, but she couldn’t stick with it and regained the weight she lost.
  • Timmy didn’t obey his mother, so he was punished.
  • You should obey your parents.

The word "obedient" is an adjective:

  • Juan and Hilda have very well-mannered and obedient children.
  • The owner of the company appreciates having obedient employees who do what they are asked to do.
  • The boy was sent to the principal’s office for being disobedient. (The prefix "dis" forms the opposite meaning.)

The word "obedience" is a noun:

  • The girl was praised for her obedience to her parents.
  • Obedience is a virtue.

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This page was first published on July 17, 2012. It was updated on March 17, 2015.