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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 […]

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 differ by just a single letter.

Luckily, this article will help you sort it out.

Short and Sweet: Course vs. Coarse

Not only do these words have different meanings, but they are also different parts of speech.

  • Course is a noun. A course is a route or direction taken, also an academic class.
  • Coarse is an adjective. A course blanket is rough to the touch.

Continue reading to see a helpful way to remember when to use course or coarse in the future.

What Does Course Mean?

Meaning of Course: Course is a noun and has a few different meanings.

Course — path. Most prominently, course means “a way to proceed,” whether physically or conceptually. A person or item can literally proceed along a course, or route. Course is also a progression of events happening in the expected order.

  • The storm threw the ship off its course, and it was lost at sea for several days.
  • I avoid taking medication if I can because I prefer to let the illness run its course.

Course — class. In school, particularly in college, a class can be called a course.

  • This year, I’m taking an advanced course in Algebra.

Course — meal. Lastly, course is sometimes used to mean parts of a large meal, which are served one at a time. You might have a “six-course meal,” with a salad for the “first course,” and meat for the “main course.”

  • If the guests are finished with their soup, the servers are ready to bring out the next course.

You’ve probably heard or used the phrase “of course.” What does course mean in that context? Course in this phrase uses the first meaning of a procedure to convey that something will happen “as expected.”

However, this phrase is used so much it has taken on its own meaning. “Of course” is used conversationally to mean “without a doubt” or “yes, absolutely.”

What Does Coarse Mean?

Meaning of Coarse: Coarse is an adjective that means “rough” or “not smooth.” It is also the antonym of “fine,” as in “finely ground.” Coarse describes an item’s texture.

  • I like to wear smooth, silky clothing. Other cloth is too coarse against my skin.
  • I don’t like touching burlap because it is too scratchy and

The above examples demonstrate coarse when it means “rough” and usually refers to fabric.

  • When I grind my own coffee, it often comes out too coarse.
  • Do you need fine or coarse sandpaper?

These examples demonstrate the usage of coarse to mean to opposite of “fine.” When grinding something up into small pieces, the bigger the pieces are, the more coarse the grind. The smaller the pieces, the more fine it is.

Coarse coffee grounds are larger pieces. Likewise, coarse sandpaper has large bumps on it for sanding something pretty rough. Fine sandpaper has small bumps and is used on smaller details for a smooth finish.

Coarse vs. Course: How to Remember the Difference

Coarse is spelled the same way as hoarse. When someone’s voice is hoarse, it sounds harsh, and their throat feels rough and scratchy, just like the meaning of coarse.

Recap: When to Use Course and Coarse

Course and coarse are pronounced the same way, but they are different words with distinct definitions and uses.

  • Course is a noun with many meanings, most often a route or process.
  • Course can also mean a class or one part of a multi-part meal.
  • Coarse means rough, and it is the opposite of smooth or fine.
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 […]

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 […]

Ad vs. Add – Pick the Correct Word

Ad vs. Add – Pick the Correct Word

Is it spelled ad or add? Both of these spellings are correct in their own appropriate contexts. Ad and add are homophones, which means that while they sound the same, they are two separate words with individual meanings. This article explains when you should use which word.

Differences in Usage: Ad vs. Add

I will illustrate the difference between the abbreviation ad and the verb add. After providing definitions for each word, I will use them in example sentences to give context for their meanings.

Then, I will leave you with a memory trick to help you choose whether to use add or ad in your future writing.

What Does Ad Mean?

Meaning of Ad: Ad is an abbreviation, which means it is short for another, longer word. In this case, ad is short for advertisement. An advertisement is a public notice intended to create awareness of a product or service and generate sales. An ad can be posted on any number of platforms, such as on the radio, TV, in print, or online.

  • Let’s place an ad in the newspaper to let people know about our bake sale.
  • I want to adopt a black cat because I saw an ad that said they are least likely to be adopted.

Advertisement and its abbreviation ad are both nouns, so you will usually see them preceded by an article, such as “an,” or “the.”

In some cases, ad is used as an adjective, as in “ad campaign.” In these cases, ad is short for advertising.

What Does Add Mean?

Meaning of Add: Unlike ad, which is an abbreviation for advertisement, add is its own word.

Add is a verb, related to the noun addition. It means to combine, or to make an addition. You can add lots of thing, such as numbers, people, or any item or quality that can be increased.

  • When you add three and four, you get seven.
  • Add another cup of flour to the batter.

Add can be used in many contexts. It can mean to combine two or more factors, as in the first two examples. It can also mean to include an additional item or concept with an existing group so as to increase its size, as in the next two examples.

  • We need to add Aunt Twyla to the guest list.
  • The stadium will be adding box seats for additional revenue.

Add vs. Ad: How to Remember the Difference

Ad and add look similar and sound the same, so they’re easy to confuse. One way to keep them straight is to remember the words with which they are associated.

  • Ad is short for ad
  • Add means to make an add

If you can’t remember how advertisement and addition are spelled, either, I have another trick for you.

You can think of add as needing an additional “D.” In other words, it needed to add another “D.” Ad, on the other hand, has only one “D,” and you would have add another one to get add.

Recap: When to Use Ad and Add

Ad and add are two distinct words used in completely different contexts.

  • Ad is a noun. It is an abbreviation for ad. It means a public notice, usually promoting a product, service, or event.
  • Add is a verb. It means to make an add. This is when two or more things are combined, often in the context where a single item increases an existing group.
Implicit vs. Explicit – Pick the Correct Word

Implicit vs. Explicit – Pick the Correct Word

If someone is being clear and to the point, is he or she being implicit or explicit? While both are legitimate words, and both describe how something can be communicated, they are not interchangeable. Only one of the words could properly answer the above question. Continue […]

Color vs. Colour – Pick the Correct Word

Color vs. Colour – Pick the Correct Word

If you’re new to the confusing world of English grammar, you may be wondering about the disagreement on the spelling of “color,” or “colour.” Do they mean different things? Are they different words? They don’t, and they aren’t. Color and colour are just different ways of spelling the […]

Canceled vs. Cancelled – Pick the Correct Word

Canceled vs. Cancelled – Pick the Correct Word

Your boss asks you to send out an email about the cancellation of this week’s meeting. But is your meeting canceled or cancelled? They both look right, but you don’t want to look foolish when you send out that email.

So, which is it?

There is a correct spelling, but it actually depends on you and your audience.

Differences in Usage: Canceled vs. Cancelled

This article compares the spelling of canceled vs. cancelled. I will use them both in example sentences to demonstrate their meaning.

I will also show you a way to remember whether to use cancelled or canceled.

What Does Canceled Mean?

Meaning of Canceled:Canceled is the past tense of cancel, which is a verb that means to invalidate, annul, or declare that an event is no longer happening.

Canceled is spelled with a single “L” in American English.

  • I paid off my debt and canceled all my credit cards!
  • The Fourth of July picnic was canceled due to the rain.

Note that while other forms of the verb cancel, such as canceling, use a single “L,” the word cancellation is an exception, which is always spelled with a double “L.”

  • I need help canceling my gym membership; they make it so difficult to do!
  • My insurance company sent me a cancellation notice since I didn’t pay my bill.

What Does Cancelled Mean?

Meaning of Cancelled: The definition of cancelledis identical to that of canceled. The spelling marks a difference in culture rather than a difference in meaning.

While canceled is used primarily in the United States, cancelled is used in all other English-speaking countries, especially the United Kingdom.

  • She cancelled the order she placed by mistake.
  • The Guy Fawkes Day celebration will be cancelled.

Here I have used culturally specific example sentences to emphasize the difference between the American English spelling and the British English spelling. However, in your writing, whether you decided to use canceled or cancelled will depend on who your readers are, not the subject of your writing.

Also, remember that citizens of many other countries speak English as a second language. The preferences of ESL readers will depend on many variables, such as whether they are from a former British colony, which version of English is taught in their schools, or their geographical proximity to the U.K. or the U.S.

Researching the history and culture of where your readers come from will inform which version of English spelling to use when communicating with them.

Cancelled vs. Canceled: How to Remember the Difference

These two words are incredibly similar; one is just slightly shorter. American English is infamous for abbreviating words as much as possible, which is helpful to remember here. Even dropping the one little “L” makes canceled shorter, so that is the spelling U.S. writers prefer.

Recap: When to Use Canceled and Cancelled

Canceled and cancelled are alternative spellings of the same word.

  • Canceled is the standard spelling in The United States.
  • Most other English-speaking countries use the British spelling, cancelled.

Which word you use in your writing depends on you and your audience. You shoud use the spelling that corresponds with the culture of your audience.

You’re vs. Your – How to Pick the Correct Word

You’re vs. Your – How to Pick the Correct Word

Ah, you’re vs. your, the epitome of misspelled words! Don’t worry, if you’re not sure which one to use, you are surely not alone. Plenty of people struggle with these two homophones. These words do, however, have quite separate meanings, and plenty of other people are […]