Coarse vs Course: Difference and Comparison

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).


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Key Takeaways

  1. ‘Coarse’ is an adjective describing something rough, crude, or not finely detailed, while ‘course’ can be a noun referring to a path, direction, or a series of educational lessons.
  2. ‘Coarse’ is used in texture, quality, or language, whereas ‘course’ describes pathways, routes, or learning processes.
  3. ‘Course’ means moving swiftly, while ‘coarse’ is not a verb.

    Coarse vs Course

    The difference between coarse and coarse 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” describes the quality of something in focus, such as an object. It is used to say if something is indecent or feels rough.


    Comparison Table

    Parameters of ComparisonCoarseCourse
    OriginIt was used primarily in the Late Middle English era, during the 17th century.The word was commonly used in the Middle English era, derived from the French words 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 nouns and verbs.
    Meaning/UsageIt describes a noun or object of either rough, cheap, or inferior quality.The word course means a pathway or road to follow, and also when discussing 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, coarse, 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 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 it used commonly as an adjective for supporting proper nouns.

    The word’s most common meaning and use 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 also be used to describe an action or event where it means cheap and of bad taste.

    Example –

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

    One can also use coarse to describe a person as 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 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. “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 into 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, I am considering joining an online course to get additional credit in my computer subjects.”
    2. “I called and asked Ronald 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 describes 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 nouns and verbs.
    3. “Coarse” commonly means rough or of inferior quality. “Course” means a pathway or road to follow, and also when discussing a class to learn something.
    4. “Coarse” can also mean to describe someone vulgar, and “course” can be used to express 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.
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