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Word comparisons

Note 337 – Comparing lesson and lessen

It’s now April – the final month of My Writing Challenge.  I can feel the pace picking up as I head towards the finishing line.  Now for today’s post… After been horrified with myself the other day for writing the word lesson instead of lessen (and quickly correcting it before posting) I thought I’d add a note in my writing notebook. 

To use my own interpretations of these are two very different words; lesson is a noun e.g. you might attend a lesson (or a class) in order to learn something, whereas the word lessen is a verb meaning to reduce – you might lessen the noise in the room by turning down the radio. (Grammar & Composition) explains that “The verb lessen means to decrease or reduce. The noun lesson means an instructive example, a piece of practical wisdom, or a unit of instruction”.

Dictionary Definitions for Lesson

Lesson as a noun: “a period of time in which a person is taught about a subject or how to do something” and “an experience which teaches you how to behave better in a similar situation in the future”.  (Cambridge Dictionary online)

Dictionary Definition for Lessen

Lesson as a verb: “Make or become less; diminish (Oxford Dictionaries online)

Sentences using lesson and lessen

  • If you lessen the weight in your bag, you might be able to carry it on the plane as hand luggage
  • She waved her finger at Tracy and said “let that be a lesson to you!”
  • In order to lessen the chances of failing the exam, James attended the extra lessons
  • If she missed the deadline then she would lessen the chance of getting ‘six lessons for the price of five’

Lesson can also be a verb

According to The Oxford Dictionaries online lesson can also be used as a verb (but it’s archaic and not something that I have written before).  It’s used with an object to “instruct or teach (someone)”.  E.g. he was lessoned before the exam.

That’s all for today

Until tomorrow…


29 days of My Writing Challenge to go…


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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