Spelling Tips: Conscience vs Conscious
  • 1-minute read
  • 3rd November 2022

Spelling Tips: Conscience vs Conscious

Conscience and conscious look similar and sound similar, so we’re not surprised that so many people struggle to tell them apart.

It’s a sticking point for English native speakers, and it’s an even more common error for people learning English as a second language!

Don’t worry, we’re here! This guide will explain the differences between conscience and conscious and provide many examples.

Conscience

Conscience means someone’s moral awareness of the difference between right and wrong.

I can’t, in good conscience, allow you to do that.
He has a good conscience, so he’d never do that.
I didn’t get involved in the fight, so my conscience is clear.
She didn’t sleep all night because she had a guilty conscience.
Richard was a man with no conscience.

Conscious

When you’re conscious of something, you’re aware of it.

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I’d love to stay, but I’m conscious of the time.
He was going to leave at 8 am, but he was conscious of the traffic.
I’m conscious that the deadline is Tuesday, and we haven’t started planning yet.
She was an eco-conscious shopper.
Budget-conscious diners don’t often go to upmarket restaurants.

It also means awake (e.g., not asleep or faint)

I regained consciousness when the sun came up.
You’re not conscious when you have a general anesthetic.
Henry was unconscious after he bumped his head.

It also means having thoughts, will, and perception.

Humans are conscious.
Bees are conscious.
Corals and sponges are not conscious.
Most animals are conscious.

That’s it!

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