Council vs. Counsel: What's the Difference? image

Council and counsel can be easily confused, especially when spoken aloud. However, these two words have different meanings, so if you want to avoid spreading that confusion with your writing, you’ll need to know how to use each.

Read on for definitions and examples that will help you to understand council vs. counsel.

Council Definition

Council is a noun that refers to a group of people who are formally constituted and meet regularly to advise, consult, or discuss specific matters. Common examples are city councils or student councils.

A council might also be appointed as an advisory or legislative body, meeting to deliberate laws or issues until the issue at hand is resolved.

Examples of Council in a Sentence

Below are several examples of council in a sentence:

  • The council met to discuss the implementation of the new city tax.
  • Before making major renovations to your home, you must have your plans approved by the city council.
  • The council members met early this morning to hold a vote on the new proposition.
  • She was elected to student council because of her immense popularity.
  • I decided to run for city council to get more done for our schools.

Counsel Definition

As a verb, counsel means to give advice or instruction. That’s where guidance counselors or couples counselors get their name: they offer their clients advice.

However, counsel can also be used as a noun to describe the advice that is being offered when one counsels. And in law, counsel can refer to legal advisers or advocates.

Examples of Counsel in a Sentence

As a verb:

  • The therapist counsels couples who are going through relationship difficulties.
  • Mrs. Peterson counseled students about their college applications.

As a noun:

  • He would be wise to listen to his parents’ counsel.
  • The counsel offered by my professor proved incredibly valuable.
  • The defense counsel called her first witness.

Council vs. Counsel

One way to remember the difference between council and counsel is with the following sentence: I asked the student council for some counsel about which clubs I should join.

If you can remember that sentence, you’ll remember that a council is a body that deliberates issues or offers advice. In other words, councils can counsel.

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