Council vs. Counsel: What is the Difference?

Council vs. counsel: these two words cause a lot of confusion. In this article, you'll learn the difference between council and counsel. These two words confuse many English learners. Council and counsel are homophones (like principal and principle) because they are pronounced alike but their spellings and meanings are different.

What’s the difference between council and counsel? Council can only be used as a noun and usually refers to a group of people who are chosen to represent a community, society, city, etc. The members of a council are called councillors. 

On the other hand, counsel can be used both as a verb and as a noun. As a verb, counsel is referred to the act of advising someone. And as a noun, it means "formal advice" or "a legal advisor". Someone whose job is to give advice to people is referred to as a counsellor.

Council vs. Counsel: What is the Difference?

Council    /ˈkaʊn.səl/


a group of people chosen to make decisions, provide advice, do research, etc. OR a group of people who are elected to govern an area such as a county or town


The local council has decreed (= to officially decide or order that something must happen) that the health centre should close.

A ban on smoking in restaurants is being considered by the city council.

There are plans to establish a funding council for infrastructure development.

He has served on the council for five years.

Their planning application was rejected by the council.

Counsel    /ˈkaʊn.səl/

Meaning (as a verb):

to give somebody advice and help with their problems, especially as your job


His advisers counselled him to do nothing.

Alice has spent about three years counselling rape victims.

Her job involves counselling unemployed people on how to find work.

Dev counsels people facing financial difficulties.

She counsels people who are trying to quit drinking.

Meaning (as a noun):

(1) an advice 

(2) a lawyer who gives someone legal advice and represents them in a court of law 


The student sought counsel from his teacher.

She provided wise counsel to the young girls in her care.

She had always been able to count on his wise counsel.

The judge addressed counsel.

All counsel are expected to obey the rules of the court.

Council vs. Counsel: What is the Difference?
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