Here’s a quick word nerd tip on how to remember the difference between two sound-a-like words:  discreet and discrete.



When these words are said in a broadcast script these words sound the same – but you need to be careful when writing these words especially in graphics or strap-lines.


That’s why even people working in TV need to know how to spell sound-a-like words – and as a sub on a TV news show I see many mistakes. I don’t bother correcting the mistakes if the words are to be said – but these words can be a problem if the words are to be read by the viewers – graphics/ strap lines etc.

I had a great teacher who made lessons memorable and visual. He used “corny” humour – but his lessons stuck!


An easy way to remember the discrete/discreet difference:

Just remember the Es in the two different words.

With discrEtE – the Es are separated (as if they are in discrEtE categories.)

With discrEET – the Es are close together whispering to each other in a discrEET conversation.

I know this sounds childish – but I guarantee this will help you remember the difference!




Discretion is the better part of valor – and knowing when to use discrete and when to use discreet is the better part of writing precisely.




One thought on “#Writing tip: an easy way to remember discrete v discreet

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