Counsel or Council?

It’s spelled counsel, of course. Look, I could easily write a lot of words about how stupid Donald Trump is. Mostly because it’s true. But instead, let’s have a look at why the poor man has such trouble with the word counsel.

Obviously enough, counsel and council are homophones, i.e. words that are spelled differently, but sound the same. Writing council occasionally as a typo is understandable, as it’s more common than counsel. Like you’re and your. And you can see from the second tweet there that he’s vaguely aware that the two words are spelled differently, because he managed to use the E correctly!

And people have been making this mistake since both words existed. Even their different etymologies are easily mixed up. Council comes from the Latin concilium (a meeting of people), and counsel from consilium (plan, opinion). Which aren’t homophones by the way: the C‘s in concilium both have a hard sound.

And often, councillors are counsellors, giving advice sometimes at least.

So should we forgive Donald for having so much trouble with the word counsel?

God no. Partly out of sheer spite, but also because a Special Counsel is currently investigating Russian interference into the 2016 election which inexplicably made him president (well, not so inexplicably now that we know Russia at least helped). How often must the word come up every day? How does he not see the word every time he reads…

…reads…

Ah!

OK, now I get why he can’t spell it!

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