Council and Counsel

What is the difference between council and counsel?

A council is a committee elected to lead or govern.

Counsel is advice (usually legal advice).

To counsel means to advise.

Council and Counsel

Writers occasionally confuse the words council and counsel.


The noun council refers to an assembly of people who serve in an administrative capacity. For example, a committee elected to lead or govern could be described as a council (e.g., a church council, a town council, student council).



The word counsel is most commonly a verb meaning to give advice. It is also a noun meaning advice (usually legal assistance) or opinion. Counsel can also refer to a body of people set up to offer advice (usually legal advice), e.g., the Queen's Counsel, the General Counsel of the Army.


A Quick Test

Councilors and Counselors

Councilors work in a council. For example:

City council sign in Aberdeen, Scotland

Counselors work in a counsel. For example:

Sign of the General Counsel of the Army (US Army)

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See Also

What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words