Discreet vs. Discrete; Loath vs. Loathe

“Whatever you write, write like you.”
– R.J. Tomlin

Good morning everyone! Today’s post is about discreet vs. discrete and loath vs. loathe. These tricky words confuse writers in their meanings and spellings. Shall we begin?

Discrete: adjective. Detached from others; separate.

Example:

There are six discrete chapters to the textbook.
Two discrete homework assignments are due by Friday.

Discreet: adjective. Cautious about one’s conduct or speech.

Example:

He was discreet in his mannerisms. Her discreet tone of voice was serious. 

Let’s stop here for a moment. Look at the words again:

Discrete

Discreet

Notice that the T is the letter moving around. That’s a clever way to remember these words.

Loath: adjective. Unwilling; reluctant.

Example:

I was loath to leave her alone. He was loath to admit his mistake.

Loathe: verb. To feel intense disagreement or disgust.

Example:

The child loathed eating his Brussel sprouts. He loathes driving in rush hour traffic.

The easiest way to remember loath vs. loathe is this:

Loathe is a verb. As is clothe and bathe. The ending, t-h-e, is what they have in common.

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