• 2-minute read
  • 15th March 2020

Word Choice: Ascent vs. Assent

“Ascent” and “assent” sound similar and only differ by one letter, but they also have completely different meanings. This makes them easy to mix up! So how should you use these words in your written work? Let’s take a look.

Ascent (A Climb or Upward Movement)

“Ascent” is always a noun and refers to the act of climbing or moving upward:

The mountain was steep, so the ascent to the peak was hard going.

As the airplane made its ascent, I watched the world below shrink away

The verb form of this word, meanwhile, is “ascend” with a “d” at the end:

We will ascend the mountain tomorrow.

The aeroplane ascended quickly.

Keep in mind that “ascent” and “ascend” both contain the first letter of “climb.” So, if you’re looking for a word that means “climb,” you’ll want to use “ascent”!

Assent (Agreement)

“Assent” can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun, it means “agreement”:

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We will seek the assent of the CEO before initiating the plan.

He gave his assent when he signed the contract.

As a verb, it refers to the act of agreeing to something:

The client assented to the terms of the contract.

Will you assent to our terms and conditions?

In all cases, though, “assent” is always related to agreement.

Summary: Ascent or Assent?

While these words sound similar, they have very different meanings:

  • Ascent is always a noun and refers to the act of climbing or moving upward.
  • Assent can be a noun (i.e., agreement) or a verb (i.e., to agree to something).

Try to keep these definitions in mind next time you use these words in writing! If you’d like a little extra help ensuring your writing is error free, though, why not upload a document for proofreading today?

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