Council vs. Counsel

How to use "council" and "counsel" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

A council is made up of people who make decisions about the actions or policies of the group they represent. A councilor (or councillor) is a member of a council.

public meeting of the city council

a meeting attended by all the councilors

Counsel is a noun meaning “advice or guidance” or a verb meaning “to give advice or guidance,” and a counselor is a person who gives advice or guidance.

counseled me to change my plans

marriage counselor

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.