Consensus Or Concensus – How To Spell It Correctly

05.05.24 Spelling mistakes Time to read: 3min

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Many words and terms in the English language are often misspelled because of their complicated structure, derivation from other languages, or phonetics. In academic writing, commonly made spelling mistakes can impact the quality, credibility, and academic integrity of your paper. A word with a complicated structure, different spelling and pronunciation, and that often causes problems and confusion among students is “consensus” or “concensus.”

The correct spelling of “consensus”

The word “consensus” grammatically functions as a noun, and describes a general agreement. It has a Latin origin, deriving from the verb “consentire,” which is formed from:

  • “con-” — meaning “together”
  • “sentire” — meaning “to feel”

Thus, the literally meaning is “to feel together.” This verb later morphed into “consens-,” meaning “agreed,” until it turned into “consensus” in the mid 17th century, with the final meaning of agreement, accord, or harmony.

The term has been used in the English language since the mid-19th century to indicate a general agreement or the collective opinion of a group of people. It reflects the process of reaching a decision that is supported by the majority within a group, even if it is not unanimous. The concept emphasizes collective decision-making and the prioritization of group harmony and agreement over individual dissent.

Correct spelling

consensus

Incorrect spelling

concensus

“Concensus” with a “c” instead of an “s,” is the most common misspelling of the word “consensus.” This mistake likely derives due to a common phonetic confusion, leading to the erroneous insertion of an extra “c” that mirrors the beginning of the word.

Additionally, the incorrect version might seem more intuitive to some based on their understanding of English spelling patterns, even though it does not follow the correct etymology. This type of phonetic spelling error is common in both British English vs. American English due to its irregular spelling rules and the influence of pronunciation on perceived spelling.

Examples

  • The team reached a consensus on the project’s direction.
  • After hours of discussion, there was still no consensus.
  • There’s a growing consensus about the need for change.

Mnemonic for spelling “consensus”

Despite the difficult spelling of “consensus,” there is a helpful mnemonic to remember the correct spelling.

Note: If you don’t ask for consent, you’re sus(picious).

FAQs

The correct way to spell it, is “consensus.” It derives from the Latin “consentire,” and “conses-,” which ultimately leads to its current meaning: agreement.

Consensus means a general agreement or a collective opinion among members of a group. It’s the process of finding a common ground that everyone in the group can accept, even if it might not be the first choice of each individual. The aim of reaching a consensus is to make decisions collaboratively in a way that is considered acceptable and satisfactory to all members involved.

To “get a consensus” means to achieve a general agreement or collective understanding among a group of people. It involves discussions and negotiations to reach a decision or opinion that everyone involved can support or at least accept, ensuring that the decision is made collaboratively and considers the views and needs of the entire group.

A consensus behavior refers to actions or decisions that are made collectively by a group, where all members agree or consent to a specific course of action. It emphasizes cooperation, mutual agreement, and shared decision-making processes, where the group works together to find a solution or decide on a behavior that is acceptable to all involved. This approach often requires negotiation, discussion, and compromise to ensure that everyone’s opinions are considered and respected.

Synonyms for “consensus” can be the following:

  • Agreement
  • Concord
  • Common consent
  • Mutual agreement
  • Unanimity
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