Word Confusion: Ascent versus Assent

Posted April 18, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I hate to assent to the ascent of misspellings, word confusions, poor punctuation, and more in writers today, but I’d be doing readers a disservice if I denied these issues are rising up more and more.

So I’m asking writers to be more thorough in their editing and slow the ascent of these problems, as readers see these errors in text and believe it’s correct. After all, it’s in print, so it must be right.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Ascent Assent
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: assent

Man climbing with rope

Image by Michele Campeotto from Italia (Flickr.com – image description page) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Climbing Erto in Italy.

Batman and Robin nodding their heads

Image courtesy of GIPHY

Part of Grammar:
Plural for the noun: ascents
Noun 1; Verb, intransitive 2

Third person present verb: assents
Past tense or past participle: assented
Gerund or present participle: assenting

A climb or walk to the summit of a mountain or hill

  • An upward slope or path

An instance of rising through the air

  • A rise to an important position or a higher level
Expression of approval or agreement

  • Official agreement or sanction

Verb, intransitive:
Express approval or agreement, typically officially

The first ascent of the Matterhorn brought the sport of mountaineering into the public eye.

The routes of ascent can be retraced.

The ascent grew steeper as we continued up.

The first balloon ascent was in 1783.

His ascent to power was unprecedented.

Mount Everest has seen many unsuccessful ascents.

There was a loud murmur of assent from the crowd.

He nodded assent.

The governor has the power to withhold his assent from a bill.

Verb, intransitive:
Roosevelt assented to the agreement.

“Guest house, then,” Frank assented cheerfully.

Noun: reascent Adverb: assentingly
Adjective: assentive, nonassenting
Noun: assenter, assentiveness, assentor
History of the Word:
Late 16th century from ascend, on the pattern of the pair of descend, descent. 1 Early 14th century meaning consent or approval, from the Old French assenter, based on the Latin assentiri: ad- (toward) + sentire (feel, think).

2Circa 1300 from the Old French assentir meaning agree, which evolved from get used to in the 12th century, from the Latin assentare meaning to agree with, a frequentative of assentire, from ad- (toward) + sentire (feel, think).

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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