“Conscious” vs “conscience”

This is a spelling misunderstanding I’ve been seeing around the internet quite often lately. These two words sound similar, but they’re different.

Here’s the difference between “conscious” and “conscience”

  • Conscious means to be awake, to be aware, or to have knowledge of something.
  • Conscience is the little voice inside you that tells you stealing your best friend’s car and driving it into a lake is wrong.

So, this means the following phrases are incorrect:

  • Socially conscience
  • Unconscience
  • Listen to your conscious

How to tell the difference between “conscious” and “conscience”

Because these words sound so similar, it’s easy to get them confused. However, the key to telling them apart is in the second ‘n’ in conscience. Say it aloud if you need to (if you’re in public, you can say it under your breath – it’s okay!). If you need to talk about how to tell the difference between right and wrong, watch for that second ‘n.’ Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to come up with an easy mnemonic device for this one, but after a while it should become second nature!

Posted in Spelling & Grammar.