Although council and counsel have close spellings and meanings, the two words are different. The difference between council and counsel is that council refers to a group of people appointed to make decisions, while counsel can be used as a noun and a verb. When used as a noun, it refers to a lawyer representing you in court or simply “advice.”
Additionally, it also functions as a verb, which means “to give someone advice.” Seemingly, the confusion comes from almost similar spellings and pronunciations. To avoid confusion between the two, recognize that the words counsel and advice have a letter “e,” so associate the word counsel with “advice.”
When to Use Council
We use council as a noun to refer to a group of people chosen to make rules and decisions or give advice.
Council as a Noun
The officers are asked to do a council meeting regarding an issue that needs to be addressed.
They have appointed a new council to focus on one specific area of concern.
The government gives the local councils much freedom.
When to Use Counsel
We use counsel as a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to a lawyer or a person who speaks for someone in the court and offers advice regarding laws. Moreover, it means advice given, mainly as a result of a consultation. Also, it can mean a group of lawyers who provide legal advice to a company or organization. As a verb, it means to give someone advice.
Counsel as a Noun
A lawyer who represents someone in court
The government gave the accused regiment their counsel regarding conflicts in the military field.
The judge asked the defense counsel to present their case in a trial court.
Banks often have their own long-term counsel to help them prepare legal documents related to their financing transactions.
Through the lens of a child, it’s hard to understand the unsolicited counsel of parents.
Although I appreciate the counsel of my friends regarding my problem, I prefer a listening ear the most.
Shera has to follow the doctor’s counsel regarding her speedy recovery after having an operation.
Counsel as a Verb
To give someone advice
He counseled the Langmores not to accept the settlement.
The teachers may counsel their students on personal, educational, or vocational matters.
It’s crucial for psychiatrists and psychologists to counsel their patients appropriately.
Council vs. Counsel: What’s the Difference?
Despite almost similar spellings and meanings between council and counsel, the two words have differences and are not interchangeable. When we say council, it’s a noun that refers to a group of people appointed to make decisions, while counsel is used as a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to a lawyer who represents you in court or simply “advice.” As a verb, it means to give someone advice.
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.) Council. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/council
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.) Counsel. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/counsel
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Council. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/council
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Counsel. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/counsel
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Council. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved fromhttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/council
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Counsel. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/counsel