Easily Confused Words: Concert vs. Consort

Concert and consort are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Concert (pronounced “kawn-suhrt”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, it means a live musical performance by a singer, a band, or an orchestra, performed for a large audience.
  • As an adjective, it describes places used to perform concerts: concert hall, concert arena, concert auditorium, etc.
  • As a verb, it means to coordinate, arrange, design, or plan something, especially a tough agreement with high stakes, or a project with a lot of moving parts or details.
  • In the idiom, “in concert” it means to perform or act in rhythm or harmony with others. This can be literally, like in synchronized swimming or dancing, or figuratively, when people work well together in complicated, team-effort jobs.

Consort (pronounced “kawn-sawrt”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun. It means the spouse of a reigning king, queen, or emperor. Typically the consort is the one who married into a reigning family, they are lower in rank to their spouse.  It can also mean a companion.  It can mean a device that acts as a companion to a larger entity: a consort ship.
  • As a verb, it means to accompany, or keep someone else company.

The following story uses both words correctly:

The symphony eagerly anticipated performing a concert for the Queen and her Prince Consort. They practiced for months in preparation for this event. 


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