Misused Words: Coarse and Course

Coarse and course are confusing words. It is not so much with coarse which only has one definition; however, course has many definitions. Let’s see if I can break it down for you:

Misused Words: Coarse and Course

Coarse is an adjective meaning rough, unrefined, or crude.

For Example: The material has a coarse texture.

For Example: Some people use coarse language when they are angry.


Course can be used as a noun or a verb. It has several meanings which is one of the reasons it gets mixed up with coarse. Some of the more common definitions include definitely, to move or run, a place, for a meal, or a class (such as school).

For Example: Of course, I will review the book for you. (definitely)

For Example: The love of music courses through my veins! (move or run)

For Example: We will play 18 holes at the golf course tomorrow. (a place)

For Example: The French are famous for their seven course meals. (for a meal)

For Example: Janet is taking a poetry course in the spring. (a class).

There are other definitions for course but you get the idea. HINT: Basically, when in doubt, if it isn’t an adjective, use course. 🙂

Or another way to remember it is this: If it is rough and tough, use coarse, for everything else, use course!

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