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“Dessert” vs. “Desert”—Here’s How To Remember When To Use Which

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“Dessert” and “desert” sound similar but have two very different meanings. We’ll teach you to always use the correct one.

How To Spell Dessert
“Dessert” and “desert” sound similar, but they have different definitions.
  • Dessert is a sweet treat or dish usually served at the end of a meal.
  • Desert can be used as a noun that refers to “dry and barren land,” while the verb means “to abandon someone or something is a disloyal way.”

An online search for “desserts near me” and “deserts near me” would lead you to two very different destinations. One would lead you to sweet treats and the other to dry, arid land. We’ll teach you an easy way to remember how to use these words correctly.


How Do You Spell “Dessert”?

When referring to the sweet dish you eat after a meal, like ice cream or apple pie, the word you want is spelled d-e-s-s-e-r-t and pronounced /dɪˈzɜːrt/.

Dessert is a noun.
“Dessert” is typically enjoyed after the main entrée.

Here are a few examples of sentences with the word dessert:

Richard complained that he ate too much, but then ate chocolate cake for dessert either way.
Lauren and Sam can only eat their desserts if they eat all their vegetables first.
The family took a trip to town to have ice cream for dessert.

How Do You Spell “Desert”?

When you’re writing about the dry land that receives minimal rainfall and has sparse life and vegetation, the word you want is spelled: d-e-s-e-r-t and pronounced /ˈdezərt/.

There's a difference between dessert and desert.
Did you know that Antarctica is technically a desert? It’s the largest in the world.

This version of the word is a noun. Here’s an example sentence:

On our honeymoon in Abu Dhabi, we rented ATVs and took a ride in the desert.

The adjective form of this word has a similar meaning: “uninhabited and desolate.”

While out on the jet skis, we were told not to disembark on the desert island.

However, this word can also be used as a verb, which means “to withdraw or abandon with no intention of returning.” Desert as a verb is also pronounced /dɪˈzɜːrt/.

In the military, we learn never to desert our fellow soldiers.

How To Remember When To Use “Dessert” or “Desert”

The tricky part about these two words is remembering if it’s supposed to have one “s” or two. It might help if you keep this sentence in mind:

Dessert has two s’s because you always want more.
Or, you can think of the two s’s in dessert to stand for sweet stuff.

One last trick to make sure you always use these words correctly? Use LanguageTool as your writing assistant. It’s easy to use and will correct spelling and grammar mistakes, provide synonyms, and suggest stylistic improvements. There’s nothing sweeter than that.


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