Monday, July 2, 2012

Grammar Police Monday - Weekly Dose Of Counsel

Today we're going to tackle a few more commonly confused words, also known as homophones. These are words that sound alike, are often spelled nearly alike, but have different meanings. In conversation, we sometimes get by with using the wrong one, but in text, the error is blatantly obvious.

First on the list: discreet vs discrete
Discreet means showing prudence in conduct, keeping quiet about things of a delicate nature, etc.
Discrete means apart, separate or distinct, and is sometimes used in math and science (e.g. a discrete variable). 



And for the record, MS Word won't mark either one as a spelling or usage error. I typed them in and checked. :(  It's probably wise to do a whole document search for both and check them individually.

In any case, here's a way to remember the difference. In discrete, the E's are separated by the T (Get it? 'Separate or distinct'?), while in discreet, the E's are together. You might say eek! if an indiscreet person said your secret out loud.

Okay, that's lame. But if it helps you remember...

Next: aisle vs isle
An aisle is a row between seats.
An isle is an island.


How about assent and ascent...
Assent means approval or agreement. He gave a nod of assent.
Ascent is the act of rising up or climbing. The blizzard slowed the mountain climber's ascent.

Last, council and counsel.
A council is a group of people. 
Counsel can be a noun meaning advice or a verb meaning to advise.
The council counseled us on the dangers of writing the wrong homophone. :P

That concludes our lesson for today. I hope you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by. :)

14 comments:

  1. I admit it... council and counsel have tripped me up in the past. English is *such* a lovely language. :P

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    1. Amen to that! I didn't even realize there was another spelling of discreet. I wonder how many times I've goofed that one up over the years. :D

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    1. Thanks, CB. Glad you stopped by. :)

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  3. I love these Monday posts. I'm so bad with some of these (discreet vs discrete I'm looking at you). (:

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    1. Thanks. Me, too. I'm looking up stuff as I write all the time. Doing these posts has made me paranoid. LOL :D

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  4. I was just thinking about discrete and discreet. That e-separated-by-t thing is really good. I'll have to etch that tip into my brain.

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    1. Well...at least there's one person who's not laughing at my memory tip. :D Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Wanted to make sure I was following you and read your notice about GFC not working. Bummer! Maybe try the widget at the top, under your banner, instead?

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    1. I've tried everything - even temporarily changing the blog address, then back. Nothing works. I'm going to create a new blog soon and transfer everything over, but it's going to be a LOT of work, and I haven't had time. Thanks anyway. :)

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  6. ...Why do I have the feeling my next WIP is going to come back with links to all these posts? LOL Great post!

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    1. LOL - nah. Glad to see you back among the cyber-living. :)

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  7. This is first time I learn about this topic.I appreciate the tips and the recommendation.Thanks.

    Confused Words

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