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Loss vs. Lost – Pick the Correct Word

Loss vs. Lost – Pick the Correct Word

Loss and lost differ by just a single letter, so they sound and look similar to each other. They also have similar meanings because both words derive from the verb “to lose.” The lose means to fail to keep or maintain. One can lose any […]

Then vs. Than – Pick the Correct Word

Then vs. Than – Pick the Correct Word

Then and than are among the most commonly misused pairs of words in the English language. While they are technically pronounced differently, many speakers pronounce than like then, which adds to the confusion. Since spelling can be conflated with intelligence, it’s important to always use […]

Peel vs. Peal – Pick the Correct Word

Peel vs. Peal – Pick the Correct Word

While you’re likely quite familiar with one of these words, the other has a more specialized meaning. Can you guess which one is which?

Peel and peal are both legitimate words, and they are pronounced the same way. However, their meanings are quite different depending on whether you use peel or peal.

Short and Sweet: Peel vs. Peal

Peel and peal are completely separate words, despite their identical pronunciation.

  • As a noun, peel is the outer layer of some fruits and vegetables. The act of removing that layer is the verb “to ” One can also peel other things.
  • Peal is succession of resounding sounds, usually bells or laughter.

This article provides further discussion of these definitions, as well as examples and a memory trick to help you choose peal or peel in your writing.

What Does Peel Mean?

Meaning of Peel: Peel is a noun and a verb. The outer layer, or skin, of bananas and citrus fruits, such as oranges, is called the peel. To remove this outer layer is to peel the fruit. You can peel other things, too. The act of peeling looks like pulling a thin layer back slowly, usually where at least one side is sticky.

  • Some drinks use a curl of lemon peel for decoration.
  • I can peel an orange and keep the peel all in one piece!

You can peel other fruits and veggies, like apples, potatoes, and onions. The outer layer on these other foods produce items is called the skin, and not a peel. However, the act of removing that layer of skin is still called peeling.

  • I always peel the potatoes when making mashed potatoes, but some people prefer to leave the skins on.
  • While I don’t mind the apple skin myself, I have to peel the apples for the kids.

Other things besides fruits and vegetables can peel or be peeled.

  • The boys peeled off their muddy clothes after playing in the rain.
  • You have to peel the backing off before you use the sticker.
  • We need to redo the wallpaper; the old stuff is starting to peel.
  • My sunburn is peeling.

Lastly, peel can mean the movement of people pulling away from a group.

  • The dancers started to peel off in pairs.
  • The bridesmaids and groomsmen walk down the aisle together, but peel off to either side when they reach the altar.

What Does Peal Mean?

Meaning of Peal: A peal is a set of ringing sounds, usually bells.

  • The peal of wedding bells resounded throughout the square.
  • The bells continued pealing during the entire funeral procession.

One can also hear a peal of laughter or a peal of thunder.

  • The students attempted to control their giggling, but a peal of laughter rang out through the courtyard.
  • A flash of lightning foretells the pealing of thunder.

Peal vs. Peel: How to Remember the Difference

A peal is a sound you can hear. Remember that the vowel pairing “EA” appears in both peal and hear. When not referring to a sound, you should always use peel.

Recap: When to Use Peel and Peal

Despite sounding the same, peel and peal are quite different words.

Peel is fairly common. As a noun, peel means the outer layer of bananas and citrus fruits. As a verb, to peel is the act of pulling back the outer layer of both fruits and other things.

Peal is a much less common word, used specifically to mean a set of ringing sounds—almost always bells or laughter.

Do vs. Due – Pick the Correct Word

Do vs. Due – Pick the Correct Word

Do sounds the same as due; the two words are a pair of English homophones. As with all homophones, do and due are spelled differently and mean quite different things. Plus, they are different parts of speech. So how do you know when to use […]

Dairy vs. Diary – Pick the Correct Word

Dairy vs. Diary – Pick the Correct Word

This pair of words is a dyslexic’s nightmare! Dairy and diary have two totally different meanings and pronunciations, yet they are so similar in spelling. You must pay close attention to determine whether you are using diary or dairy correctly. Short and Sweet: Dairy vs. […]

Council vs. Counsel – Pick the Correct Word

Council vs. Counsel – Pick the Correct Word

Something about how these two words are spelled has made me dizzy just writing this article! Perhaps it is because cil, sel, cel, and sil are all viable spellings for the sound at the end of council or counsel.

It’s certainly challenging to remember how these two words are spelled in the first place, much less which word means what.

Short and Sweet: Council vs. Counsel

Both words can be nouns, but only counsel can be a noun or a verb.

  • A council is a group of people.
  • Counsel is another word for advice; to counsel is to give advice.

Continue reading for more thorough definitions, example sentences, and a fun way to remember how to spell counsel or council.

What Does Council Mean?

Meaning of Council: A council is an assembly of people, usually delegates in a governing body. A council meets to have discussions and make decisions, generally about civil matters.

Generally, members of a council represent of a variety of people and have equal power and authority.

  • The council convened to discuss what to do about the problem at hand and then voted on a solution.
  • The town is holding a meeting to elect new council
  • Student council is an institution intended to give students a voice on certain issues that affect the student body.
  • The governor consulted her council of advisors before making a decision.
  • Council can only ever be a noun.

What Does Counsel Mean?

Meaning of Counsel: Counsel, on the other hand, can be both a noun or a verb. It is a more formal word for advice.

For example, a council could give its counsel to a more powerful authority, as in our example with the governor above. In this sense, a group of people, (the council) is giving its counsel (or advice) to another person (the governor).

Counsel can be used in many contexts. Governmental, legal, and psychiatric are a just few examples.

Often, counsel is a noun, where the subject of the sentence is either seeking or providing counsel.

  • Thank you for your counsel, but I have decided against it.
  • I refuse to answer any questions before receiving legal counsel.

Sometimes, counsel is a verb, when it means “to give advice.”

  • Can you counsel me on what to do in my relationship?

Counsel is related to the word consult, and they show opposite sides of a coin.

If you consult with someone, you are often seeking counsel.

For example,

  • I need to consult a financial planner.
  • My financial planner counseled me to create a will.

In the first example, someone is seeking advice. In the second example, someone is giving advice.

Counsel vs. Council: How to Remember the Difference

Counsel ends in sel. This looks like the word “sell.” You can sell advice if you are a specialist. Clients pay you for your counsel.

Council ends in cil. This looks like the word “civil.” A council is a group of people who make decisions on civil matters.

Recap: When to Use Council and Counsel

Council and counsel are both nouns, but counsel can also be a verb.

  • A council is a governing body made up of a group of elected or appointed members.
  • Counsel is advice that one person provides to another.
Lets vs. Let’s – Pick the Correct Word

Lets vs. Let’s – Pick the Correct Word

It can be hard to remember whether to use lets or let’s. Should you use an apostrophe, or not? Most homophones differentiated by an apostrophe are completely different words. This includes pairs such as “its and it’s,” “your and you’re,” and “whose and who’s.” Lets […]

Course vs. Coarse – Pick the Correct Word

Course vs. Coarse – Pick the Correct Word

In this article, we are dealing with a set of English homophones, a pair of words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things. It can be challenging to determine whether your writing calls for coarse or course, especially since they […]

Canon vs. Cannon – Pick the Correct Word

Canon vs. Cannon – Pick the Correct Word

Not sure whether canon is spelled with one “N” or two? Spellcheck won’t help you here, because both spellings are correct. It’s just that canon and cannon are two words with different meanings.

Make sure you know whether to use cannon or canon in your writing!

Short and Sweet: Canon vs. Cannon

Both words are nouns, but they have different meanings.

  • Canon refers to a general rule, law, or principal. It also refers to a collection of writings.
  • Cannon refers to a type of mounted artillery weapon.

Continue reading to see examples and more in depth definitions.

What Does Canon Mean?

Meaning of Canon: A canon is something that is in keeping with the governing laws, principles, or rules.

Canon comes from the Greek word “kanon,” meaning “rule.” The word was originally used in the church, where the dogma of the church counsel is canon law.

The list of books considered Holy Scripture is also called canon.

  • The New Testament is not canon in Judaism.

Today, canon often refers to literature as well. Things that are endorsed by the original author are considered canon, while fans put forth other ideas that don’t conform to the original concept of the author. Canon can also refer to a standard of judgement, such as the sanctioned and accepted works of great literature.

  • That theory was confirmed by the author in an interview, so it’s canon

In general, canon means anything that is endorsed by the governing body on a particular topic. One can think of canon as having a similar meaning to “official” or “legitimate.” If something follows the rules and regulations, or is held in high esteem, it is considered canon.

  • While language is ever-changing and many slang words rotate in and out of use, some of them become canon and are officially entered in the dictionary.

What Does Cannon Mean?

Meaning of Cannon: Cannon’s meaning is far simpler: it refers to artillery. A cannon is a large, mounted gun. It originates from the Italian word “cannone,” meaning “large tube.” (Like cannoli!)

Common phrases include: “cannon blast,” “man the cannons,” and “loose cannon.”

  • The pirates took down the enemy ship with their superior cannons.
  • Don’t say anything about this secret to Sherry; that woman is a loose cannon!

“Loose cannon” is a metaphorical phrase, referring to a dangerous and unpredictable person. Imagine trying to fire a physical cannon that is loose: you wouldn’t be able to aim it, so it would swing around wildly and fire unpredictably. A person who causes unpredictable damage is like a loose cannon.

Cannon vs. Canon: How to Remember the Difference

“Loose cannon” compares a person to an unsafe gun, and the correct spelling for the gun is“cannon,” both of which have a set of double letters.

Another way to remember the difference is to think of the camera company Canon. Along with Nikon, Canon is one of the top “name brand” companies that produce cameras. These companies can be thought of as “official” camera companies.

Therefore, if you have a Canon camera, your camera is canon.

Recap: When to Use Canon and Cannon

Each of these words has its own distinct sense. Canon has a few senses; cannon is the simpler word.

Canon refers to anything conforming to the governing principles. Originally, it was used to mean in keeping with the church law. In modern usage, however, canon means what is written or declared true by the original author of any written work.

Cannons are large mounted guns. An unpredictable person is a loose cannon.

Aid vs. Aide – Pick the Correct Word

Aid vs. Aide – Pick the Correct Word

While it may not seem like the little “E” at the end of aide should matter much, it does. That extra letter turns aid into a different word altogether. And while aid and aide do mean very similar things about helping people, their usages are […]