Coarse & Course

Wednesday Curriculum

Of course we’re going to learn two more words today: It’s Wednesday! And these two are featured today because I saw one of them misused in a post recently and realized that again — someone depended on SPELLCHECK to do more than it can do . . . now, no coarse words, please!

Coarse (adj.) means many things including

  • having a rough texture (coarse cloth)
  • having large particles (coarse sand)
  • lacking delicacy or fineness (coarse features)
  • lacking in refinement or good taste; vulgar; crude (coarse joke)


Course can be a noun or a verb.

As a noun, it can mean

  • a class you take in school (a grammar course)
  • a specific path to follow (a race course)
  • a way something progresses (in the course of time)
  • a regular manner of procedure (the law must take its course)


As a verb, it can mean

  • to proceed 
  • to hunt game with dogs (to course greyhounds after rabbits)
  • to run or flow (the water coursed through the gullies)


Simple words, but if we’re not paying attention — or if we just didn’t know there were two of them with an identical sound — we can end up with the wrong one. That is and always will be the difficulty with homophones, so writers need to stay alert (or hire a really good proofreader).

For all of the various definitions of these or any other words you’re not sure of, check — it gives readers three or four dictionaries’ definitions of the same words. I use it all the time (of course I do!).

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