Difference Between Coarse and Course

There is a bit of confusion faced when talking about the terms “coarse” and “course” due to how similar they sound; this is because the above two mentioned terms are homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings).

Coarse vs Course

The main difference between coarse and course is that Coarse is used along with a noun to describe it further, while Courser is used as a noun to accompany the subject in the sentence.

Coarse vs Course

The word “coarse” is used to describe the quality of something in focus, such as an object. It is usually used to say if something is indecent or feels rough.


Comparison Table Between Coarse and Course (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonCoarseCourse
OriginIt was used primarily in Late Middle English era, during the 17th century.The word was commonly used in the Middle English era, derived from the French word cours and currere.
SpeechThe word coarse is used as an adjective to support nouns in the structure of the sentence.When considering part of speech, the word course is used both as a noun and a verb.
Meaning/UsageIt is used to describe the noun or object, that is of either rough, cheap, and inferior quality.The word course means a pathway or road to follow, and also when talking about a class to learn something.
Example“The grass in the garden is becoming coarse and damp with the loss of flowers during monsoon.”“If you keep up with this course of action, it will only result in catastrophe, so please take heed.”
SynonymsSimilar words are – bristly, scratchy, boorish, and hairy.Related words are – route, trajectory, pump and follow.


What is Coarse?

The word as a whole does not hold any weight to it other than the intention of describing the quality of an object or any noun for that matter. The word “coarse” is more of a supplementary word that just provides an added meaning to something.

It was commonly used during the 17th century, which was the late middle English era. “Coarse” is thought to have been possibly derived from the word “Course” itself or a variant of the word – “ordinary manner”.

When talking about the part of speech “coarse” belongs to, we see used commonly as an adjective for supporting proper nouns and such.

The most common meaning and use of the word is seen when describing how rough or inferior in quality a subject or an object is. This object could be a material such as a fabric; it can be used to describe an action or event too, where it means cheap and of bad taste.

Example –

  1. “The amount of coarse fabric of silk and wool being sold in today’s market is astonishing, considering the high prices being paid for them.”
  2. “The sedimentation of coarse particles is an old process that has been used by chemists for decades.”

One can also use coarse to describe a person of being of a vulgar or disgusting nature if that person behaves or speaks rudely or offensively.

Example –

  1. Riley is a real coarse person for how she acted during dinner yesterday night.”
  2. “She uses extremely coarse words and expressions while dealing with the employees that work under her.”

What is Course?

Over the gradual development of the English language during the Middle English era, many words have been adapted from the French language and the word “course” was also derived from words such as cours and currere. In terms of speech, “course” is found in two forms when thinking about how it fits in the structure of the sentence –

  1. Noun
  2. Verb

When used as a noun, it could mean several things, such as a class to study a subject or any other educational training class. It can be used when talking about sporting events.

“Course” can also be a replacement word for “path”, “route”, and “road”.

Example –

  1. “Next semester onwards, I am thinking of joining an online course to get additional credit in my computer subjects.”
  2. “I called and asked Ronald if whether he would be up for a game at the golf course this coming Saturday.”
  3. “The cruise has veered off course and is heading for another vessel.”
  4.  “In due course of 15 years, our country will be leading in all sorts of exports of goods and amenities in the world.

When used as a verb, it is used to describe the flow or a large amount of something.

Example – “Everyone in his family is a policeman. Blue blood courses through his veins.”


Main Differences Between Coarse and Course

  1. “Coarse” was first used during the late Middle English era, while “course” is a derivation of French words currere and cours during the Middle English period.
  2. “Coarse” can only be used as an adjective, while “course” can be used as a noun and a verb.
  3. “Coarse” commonly means rough, or of inferior quality. “Course” means a pathway or road to follow, and also when talking about a class to learn something.
  4. “Coarse” can also mean to describe someone vulgar and “course” can be used to express a sporting event related things.
  5. Words related to “coarse” are scratchy, boorish, and hairy, while “Course” means the same as route, trajectory, pump and follow.



Homophones are usually tricky to differentiate and at times are confusing in terms of where to use which word, and the same can be said about “course” and “coarse”. The word “coarse” is an adjective that is used to describe the quality of something, such as a person or object as vulgar, rough, or of cheap; while “course” is used to talk about a path, or to describe how something flows and moves fluidly.

The two words have been precedented to be related to each other in the past, but in today’s era, they have completely different meanings.


  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/course
  2. https://sentence.yourdictionary.com/coarse
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