moral and morale - the difference

Our most common search themes:

A moral is the lesson learnt from a story.

Moral is an adjective meaning ethical or virtuous.

Morals are the standards someone adopts to determine right from wrong.

Morale means mental or emotional state (e.g., spirit or attitude).

Moral or Morale

The words moral and morale look and sound similar, but their meanings are quite different.

With the stress on the first syllable, moral rhymes with coral (as in coral reef).

With the stress on the second syllable, morale rhymes with corral. (Corral means to round up as in to corral the sheep).


As a noun, a moral is the lesson learnt from a story (e.g., the moral of the story is don't drink and drive).

The plural, morals, usually conveys a different meaning. Morals are the standards that people adopt to differentiate between acceptable (or good) behaviour and unacceptable (or bad) behaviour.

As an adjective, moral means ethical or virtuous.

For example:
  • Everything has got a moral if you can only find it. (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898)
  • (moral = a lesson we can learn from)
  • If your morals make you dreary, they are wrong. (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894)
  • (morals = standards to determine right from wrong)
  • No moral system can rest solely on authority. (A. J. Ayer, 1910-1989)
  • (moral = ethical)


As a noun, morale means mental or emotional state. It often refers to someone's spirit or attitude.

For example:
  • Your morale seems low. Are you okay?
  • I don't think we're going to solve our morale issue with a few sandwiches.
  • Studies have shown that employees' morale is directly related to their productivity.
  • Low morale will increase work errors, increase sick days, and decrease cooperation between  departments.
Select the correct version:



Let the ale of morale remind you that morale refers to spirit (or state of mental wellbeing).

Immoral and amoral What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words

More Free Help...

All the lessons and tests on Grammar Monster are free. Here's some more free help:

Follow Us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook
by Craig Shrives Follow us on Google+
mail tip Sign up for our daily tip emails
Chat about grammar Ask a grammar question
Search Search this site

Buy Some Help...

Too busy to read everything on Grammar Monster? Here are the paid services we recommend to learn grammar and to keep your writing error free:

Paste your text into Grammarly's online interface for corrections and recommendations. (Free trial available)

Press F2 while using Word, PowerPoint, etc., for corrections and recommendations. (Free trial available)

Send your text to a trained editor and grammar geek for checking. (Free trial available)

Learn English (or another language) with a state-of-the-art program. (Free trial available)

Buy Our Book...

Buy "Grammar Rules: Writing with Military Precision" by Craig Shrives (founder of Grammar Monster).

More info...