Moral or Morale?

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Moral or Morale?

What is the difference between "moral" and "morale"?
  • Moral. A moral is the lesson learnt from a story. For example:
    • The moral of this story is don't judge others.
  • Morals. Morals are the standards someone adopts to determine right from wrong. For example:
    • I can't agree to your proposal. I have strong morals.
  • Moral. Moral is an adjective meaning ethical or virtuous. For example:
    • His decision was based on a moral judgement not profitability.
  • Morale. Morale means mental state, emotional state, spirit, or attitude. For example:
    • Cancelling the event would undermine staff morale.
moral or morale?

Common Terms with "Moral" and "Morale"

Here are some common terms with "moral" and "morale":

Moral:
  • moral argument
  • moral belief
  • moral standard
  • moral argument
  • moral compass
  • moral code
  • moral dilemma
  • moral fiber
  • moral high ground
  • moral justice
  • moral integrity
  • moral judgement
  • moral obligation
  • moral quandary
  • moral rights
  • moral support
  • moral values
  • moral victory
Morale:
  • morale booster
  • low morale
  • morale patches
  • team morale

More about "Moral" and "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").

More about "Moral"

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). Here is another example:
  • Everything has got a moral if you can only find it. (Author Lewis Carroll)
  • ("moral" = a lesson we can learn from)
The plural ("morals") usually conveys a different meaning. "Morals" are the standards that people adopt to differentiate between acceptable (or good) behavior and unacceptable (or bad) behavior. For example:
  • If your morals make you dreary, they are wrong. (Author Robert Louis Stevenson)
  • ("morals" = standards to determine right from wrong)
As an adjective, "moral" means "ethical" or "virtuous." For example:
  • No moral system can rest solely on authority. (Philosopher A. J. Ayer)
  • ("moral" = ethical)

More about "Morale"

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.
A Trick to Remember "Morale"

Let the "ale" of "morale" remind you that "morale" refers to spirit or state of mental wellbeing.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? immoral and amoral imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words