Council vs Counsel

Team English -
Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: April 27, 2024

Council vs Counsel

These two words may sound alike, but they have distinct meanings. ‘Council‘ refers to a group of people who come together for a specific purpose, while ‘Counsel‘ typically means advice or guidance. Understanding the difference between them is important for clear communication

Council and Counsel – Meanings

  • Council : It is only noun and typically refers to a group of individuals convened for advisory or decision-making purposes. It commonly applies in contexts such as governance, community leadership, or organizational management, where members gather to discuss and deliberate on various issues, make decisions, or provide guidance on specific matters.
  • Counsel : It is a verb as well as noun. It refers to advice or guidance provided by a legal advisor or attorney. It involves offering insights, recommendations, and assistance to individuals or organizations in navigating legal matters, making informed decisions, and resolving disputes within the framework of the law.


Council” refers to a collective assembly convened for advisory or decision-making roles, commonly seen in governance or organizational settings. On the other hand, “Counsel” denotes the provision of legal advice or guidance by attorneys or advisors, aiding individuals or entities in navigating legal complexities and making informed decisions within the boundaries of the law. While “Council” focuses on group decision-making and advisory functions, “Counsel” primarily assists in legal matters, ensuring compliance and informed choices.

How To Pronounce Council and Counsel

  • Council :Pronounced as KOWN-suhl, with the stress on the first syllable.
  • Counsel : Pronounced as KOWN-suhl, with the stress also on the first syllable.

Council and Counsel – Differences

Aspect Council Counsel
Role Advisory or decision-making body. Legal advisory service.
Members Can include elected officials, advisors, or representatives. Typically comprises attorneys or legal advisors.
Purpose Offers advice, makes decisions, or provides guidance on specific matters. Provides legal advice, representation, and guidance to clients.
Context Commonly found in governance, community leadership, or organizational management settings. Primarily associated with legal proceedings, contracts, disputes, and compliance matters.
Examples City council, advisory board, committee. Legal counsel for a company, attorney providing legal advice.

Tricks to Remember Council and Counsel


  • Picture a group gathering, such as a city council meeting, where people come together to discuss and make decisions.
  • Associate “council” with the letter “C” to remember its meaning as a collective group.
  • Think of “council” in the context of decision-making bodies, such as city councils or advisory councils.


  • Imagine seeking advice or guidance from a wise individual, like a counselor or mentor.
  • Focus on the “S” in “counsel,” linking it to “advice” or “suggestions” provided by someone knowledgeable.
  • Consider “counsel” in situations where guidance or advice is sought, often in personal or professional setting

When To use Council and Counsel

Usage of Council and counsel

Usage of Council :

  • Governance: In government settings, councils often refer to legislative or advisory bodies responsible for making decisions, passing laws, or providing recommendations.
    • Examples include city councils, town councils, and municipal councils.
  • Organizational Management: Within organizations, councils may exist as advisory boards or committees tasked with providing guidance on specific areas such as finance, education, or policy.
  • Community Leadership: Community councils or neighborhood councils serve as platforms for community members to address local issues, voice concerns, and collaborate on solutions.

Usage of Counsel :

  • Legal Advice: Lawyers or legal advisors offer counsel to clients facing legal issues, guiding them through legal processes, explaining their rights and obligations, and recommending courses of action.
  • Decision-Making: Counsel plays a crucial role in decision-making processes, especially in situations where legal considerations are paramount. Clients rely on legal counsel to assess risks, evaluate options, and make informed choices.
  • Compliance and Risk Management: Businesses and organizations seek counsel to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, mitigate risks, and resolve legal disputes effective

How To Use Council and Counsel


  • Referring to a Group: Use “council” to denote a group of people convened for deliberation, decision-making, or advisory purposes.
    • Example: “The city council meets every month to discuss municipal issues.”
  • Legislative or Advisory Body: Refer to “council” when talking about official bodies responsible for making decisions or providing advice.


  • As a Verb (Advise): Use “counsel” when you want to convey the action of giving advice or guidance to someone.
    • Example: “I counseled my friend on making important life decisions.”
  • As a Noun (Advice): Employ “counsel” to refer to the advice or guidance given to someone.
    • Example: “His counsel was invaluable in navigating the challenges.”

Council and Counsel – Examples

Council vs Counsel Examples

Council Examples :

  1. The City Council met to discuss the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
  2. The Student Council organized a fundraising event to support local charities.
  3. The Neighborhood Council voted to implement traffic calming measures in residential areas.
  4. The Town Council approved the construction of a new community center in the downtown area.
  5. The Municipal Council passed an ordinance to promote recycling and waste reduction.

Counsel Examples :

  1. The corporate legal counsel advised the company on compliance with new labor regulations.
  2. The lawyer counsels her clients before trial.
  3. She counseled her friend through a difficult time.
  4. Family law counsel mediated the divorce proceedings between the estranged couple.
  5. He counseled his colleagues on conflict resolution.

Synonyms For Council and Counsel

Council Counsel
Assembly Advice
Board Guidance
Committee Consultation
Panel Direction
Chamber Recommendation


Q 1. The city _______ meets every Tuesday to discuss local issues.

Q 2. Mark received legal _______ before signing the contract.

Q 3. She _______ her students on career choices.

Q 4. He has _______ employees through difficult transitions.

Q 5. Our school _______ plans events for the student body.


A 1. Council

A 2. Counsel

A 3. Counsels

A 4. Counseled

A 5. Council


Is a lawyer a counsel or council?

A lawyer is called “counsel.” This term refers to a legal advisor or representative who provides advice, guidance, and representation to clients in legal matters.

What does it mean to council someone?

To counsel someone means to provide advice, guidance, or support to them, especially in a professional or advisory capacity.

Can “council” be used as both a noun and a verb?

No, “council” is primarily used as a noun and is not commonly used as a verb. It refers to a group of people convened for deliberation, decision-making, or advisory purposes

Provide an example where “counsel” is used in a legal context?

In a legal context, “counsel” refers to the lawyers or attorneys representing parties in a legal case.

For example, “The defendant’s counsel argued for dismissal of the charges.”

Can “counsel” refer to both advice and a person giving advice?

Yes, “counsel” can refer to both advice and a person giving advice. As a noun, it denotes advice or guidance, while as a verb, it means to provide advice or guidance.

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