Desert vs. Dessert: What’s the Difference?

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Desert and dessert are similar words, so it’s no wonder why they’re so often mistaken for each other. In today’s post we’ll discuss the difference, as well as offer a tip you can use to remember which one is which.

Before we dive into the definitions, however, let’s start by pointing out that both desert and dessert are real words and either spelling can be correct. The meaning and pronunciations of each are different, but neither is necessarily wrong.

The Meaning of Desert

The word desert has two common meanings. As a noun, it refers to a place with a very dry climate:

Jim packed emergency supplies just in case he got stuck somewhere during his long drive through the desert.

As a verb, desert means “to leave or abandon someone”:

Julie is a great friend who would never desert you in your time of need.

The Meaning of Dessert

Dessert is a noun that refers to something served at the end of the meal. In the U.S., that’s commonly associated with cake, ice cream, and other sweets:

I thought I was finished eating until I saw the dessert menu.

Here is a fun, easy way to keep them straight: If you ever have trouble remembering the difference between desert and dessert, just keep in mind the extra “s” is for something sweet!

Pop Quiz

Now that you know the difference between desert and dessert, choose the correct word in each sentence below.

  1. That restaurant serves an amazing chocolate soufflé for [desert / dessert].
  2. I will always stick by Brad because he didn’t [desert / dessert] me when times were tough.
  3. Cats like warm weather because they are descended from [desert / dessert] animals.
  4. Lydia may be trying to lose weight, but I hope she doesn’t skip [desert / dessert] on her birthday.
  5. If you ever found yourself shipwrecked on a [desert / dessert] island, at least you wouldn’t have to wake up for work in the morning.

 

Pop Quiz Answers

  1. That restaurant serves an amazing chocolate soufflé for dessert.
  2. I will always stick by Brad because he didn’t desert me when times were tough.
  3. Cats like warm weather because they are descended from desert
  4. Lydia may be trying to lose weight, but I hope she doesn’t skip dessert on her birthday.
  5. If you ever found yourself shipwrecked on a desert island, at least you wouldn’t have to wake up for work in the morning.

 

Keep Adding to Your Knowledge of Grammar

You can always sharpen your grammar skills by learning the finer points of American English. We keep ourselves busy adding content to our website that can help both new and experienced learners find answers to questions they have about our language.

Our goal is to help you become a better communicator, and we hope you visit our site again real soon. We also welcome you to leave us a comment or a question below!

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