Course and coarse may be pronounced similarly, but they have different meanings and spellings. The difference between course and coarse is course is always a noun or verb, while coarse is always an adjective. When used as a noun, course has many definitions but generally refers to a plan or route, while coarse is an adjective that means “rough” or “harsh”. Additionally, it describes a material such as fabric or a person’s behavior.
When to Use Course
We use course as a noun and a verb. The word is mainly used as a noun and has many definitions. As a noun, course refers to a series of lessons or classes, a way something develops, an area for sports, and many more.
Course as a Noun
A series of lessons on a subject
Anya’s planning to take a course in fashion design.
My company provides many in-house training courses.
The usual way something develops
Just stay still and let nature take its course.
“The course of true love never did run smooth.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
The way something’s happening
We have a bright future ahead if the economy stays on course.
They will do everything to change course.
The things you choose to do in a particular situation
During the movie premiere, he only has one practical course of action.
If our rivals are doing bad things, we’ll stick to the same course of action.
The direction that a boat or plane plans to take
The aircraft had to change its course due to weather.
It was too late for the ship to change its course.
An area used for a sports event
The mountains are the most challenging part of the course.
The golf course has 18 holes.
One of the parts of a meal
We had steak and ribs for the main course.
The hotel offers a four-course meal.
Course as a Verb
To flow quickly
Gender equality is coursing in society these days.
I saw his tears course down his cheeks.
When to Use Coarse
We use coarse as an adjective, which is only used this way. First, it’s used to describe something that’s harsh or lacks smoothness. Second, it’s used to describe rude and offensive behavior or language. Lastly, it describes something that’s large or thick.
Coarse as an Adjective
Her curly hair looks coarse.
He wears a light wool jacket, which has a coarse texture.
Rude and offensive in manner or speech
It’s not good to use coarse language while talking in any situation.
Her coarse demeanor makes her unlikeable.
Threads or parts that are thick or large
I walked on coarse sand.
She prefers coarse ground coffee.
Course vs. Coarse: What’s the Difference?
Aside from differences in spellings and meanings, course and coarse are not interchangeable words. Course typically functions as a noun referring to a route, the natural way something develops, or a way of doing something and is also used as a verb. Meanwhile, coarse is only used as an adjective to mean “rough” or “harsh.”
To remember which one to use, the words “coarse” and “adjective” both have the letter “a.” Hence, it’s always coarse if it’s an adjective.
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.) Course. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/course
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.) Coarse. In https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/coarse
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Course. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/course
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online. (n.d.). Coarse. In https://www.ldoceonline.com/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/coarse
Macmillan Dictionary (n.d.). Course. In https://www.macmillandictionary.com/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/course_1
Macmillan Dictionary (n.d.). Coarse. In https://www.macmillandictionary.com/ dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/coarse
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Course. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/course
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Coarse. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coarse