Desert or dessert?

06 Jul

This common error was suggested to me by a friend who was looking at some flyers she’d made and suddenly panicked: which one should it be? And I was actually quite surprised that I hadn’t tackled it yet.

So, the big question, which can end up with sand in your ice cream or endlessly trekking with your camel over empty wastes of Angel Delight … dessert or desert?

A dessert is a pudding; the sweet course. Think of it as an extra … with that extra s. So, the dessert trolley, what would you like for your dessert, etc.?

A desert is that sandy expanse (well, you can get rocky and stony deserts but let’s not get into all the stuff I learned in Geography O and A level). Think of it being deserted, if that helps.

And here’s a fun extra (when I described this bit as “fun” to the friend who asked me about this, she started to doubt my sanity, but, hey: this is my life now). You know when you say somebody has “got his just deserts“? That’s deserts, because he has got what he deserved. Not desserts, as it’s not the pudding on top of the menu of life.

“Jack ate all the desserts, but he got his just deserts, as he could never look at a bowl of ice cream in the same way again.”

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


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6 responses to “Desert or dessert?

  1. tryingtowriteit

    July 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

    You have enriched my grammatical knowledge (which, frankly, is so cheap it belongs in the charity bin). I never knew that about the “D” word. Thanks.


    • Liz at Libro

      July 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

      You’re welcome – you might like to have a look through the other troublesome pairs (link at the bottom of the post or to the right) or follow my blog as I publish 1-2 per week. Glad I can help!


  2. Sarah

    July 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I knew about dessert/desert, but I’m a bit disappointed to find out that it’s ‘just deserts’ not ‘just desserts’ (always had some kind of terrible trifle in my head, maybe similar to humble pie???) – it does also highlight how tricky English pronunciation is (Sahara Desert, chocolate dessert, a deserted beach, just deserts…eek)


    • Liz at Libro

      July 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Ah yes, I can see where you got the link to humble pie! Glad I can clear things up, anyway!


  3. wyldetwo

    July 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    And don’t forget that desserts is the opposite of stressed! 😉



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