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Grammar Granny        < Previous        Next >


Conscience, Conscious, Conscientious. . .


A high school principal meant well. He wrote a letter to parents pleading for G-rated clothing choices in the spring sunshine. This is not to criticize modest dress! But he illustrated a common spelling snafu, for many people, and a highly embarrassing one for a high school principal, when he wrote:


". . . please be aware and help develop the social conscientious of appropriate school dress in our students." (Emphasis added)


He meant "conscience." That's a noun. He used an adjective that has a related meaning, but is in the wrong place in that sentence.


So here are the Random House Dictionary definitions that people like him SHOULD know:


Conscience: (noun) the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience.

Conscious: (adjective) aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.


Conscientious: (adjective) controlled by or done according to conscience; scrupulous; a conscientious judge.


May it stay on your CONSCIENCE to stay CONSCIOUS of these differences and be CONSCIENTIOUS in applying them!



By Susan Darst Williams Grammar Granny 020 2006


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