GCSE English

Discreet and discrete


Just to be a pain, both of these words are adjectives!

A bird in the hand... endangered Arizona pygmy owl.
Endangered Arizona Pygmy Owl.
Arizona Game & Fish Dept.
To be discreet, someone or something is being careful or using caution, so as not to be too obvious...

"The presence of Christmas was discreet - a moderately-decorated spruce here, a string of lights there."
From Christmas in Rome by Philip Marsden.

To be described as discrete, something is seen to be a separate thing...

"The endangered Arizona pygmy-owl is discrete from the remainder of the species."

A good way of remembering the difference (spelling and grammar checkers don't know the difference!) is that the t in discrete separates the two e's... they are discrete.

Advice and advise
Affect and effect
Bought and brought
Complement and compliment
Discreet and discrete
Hear and here
Its and it's
Lead and led
Less and fewer
Licence and license
Loose and lose
  Plane and plain
Poor, pore and pour
Practice and practise
Principal and principle
Sort and sought
Stationary and stationery - new!
There, their and they're
Threw, through and thorough
To and too
Warn and Worn
Whose and who's
Your and you're

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