Misused Words

Coarse and Course

Coarse refers to items that are made up of larger parts. It is the opposite of fine. Sand, for example, can be coarse or fine, depending on the size of the particles.

The Department of Highways uses coarse salt on the road in the winter to melt the ice.

Course has a number of different meanings. It can refer to a subject studied at school or university, such as a course in physics. It can refer to a part of a meal served at one time, such as the first course. It also can refer to a path or direction.

The journey through life is the most difficult course that we will travel.

Choose the correct answer for each of the two practice sentences below by clicking on the correct answer.

(1) The student found mathematics to be his most difficult (coarse, course) in high school.

(2) The farmer lined the bottom of his surface well with (coarse, course) gravel so that the water would not be murky.

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