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.