Council vs. counsel

Council is always a noun. It refers to an assembly of people brought together for discussion or deliberation. Counsel also has a couple of noun senses—it refers to (1) the act of exchanging ideas or giving advice, and (2) a lawyer or group of lawyers giving legal advice and conducting cases in courtbut it’s primarily used as a verb meaning to advise.

The inflected forms of counsel are spelled differently in the U.S. than everywhere else. In the U.S., they have one l—counseledcounseling, and counselor. In Canada and outside North America, they have two l‘s—counselledcounselling, and counsellor.

Examples

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said it was withdrawing from an advisory council being formed by the military leaders.  [NY Times]

I should therefore counsel young poets, in allowing for spirit, to value language as incantation and magic. [Paul Hoover Poetry]

A New Jersey town council is trying to rein in roosters’ libidos in a bid to keep the noise down. [Daily Mail]

But I would counsel against taking any major decisions so soon after your dad has died. [Guardian]

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