Membedakan Assent dan Ascent
This is BBC Learning English. Now, as you’ve probably worked out by now, the English language can be very confusing. But we at BBC Learning English aim to help you understand English more easily, so let’s look at some of the words that may puzzle you!
One sort of confusing words are homophones – that means two words which sound the same but have different meanings. Here’s a basic example: won – the past tense of to win (WON) and one, the number 1 (ONE).
Now, let’s join Finn and Abigail, who are going to look at another pair of confusingly similar words.
Finn : Hello and welcome to Soundalikes, the quick guide to words in the news which can be easily confused because they sound the same but they have different meanings. Now which words are we looking at today, Abigail?
Abigail : OK, today Finn we've got two words which once again in the English language sound absolutely the same. It’s assent and ascent.
Finn : Assent and ascent. Not two cents, assent - they sound exactly the same – now let's hear these two words in context.
Finn : Right so the first one was talking about someone giving assent,
Abigail : Yes, the first one was assent – ASSENT and it means agreement basically. It means saying Yes.
Finn : Saying yes is to give your assent. It’s to give your agreement.
Abigail : Exactly. So you could say she gave her assent to the proposal, which means she said yes. It’s a bit of a formal way of saying yes. Also, you could say someone assents to something, you might say he assented to the proposal. Again it’s a bit of a formal way of saying “He said yes.”
Finn : He said Yes. He agreed.
Abigail : That’s right.
Finn : He said yes to it. So, in the second one though, we’re not talking about Mr Bush agreeing with the White House.
Abigail : No, that’s right. The second one is spelled ASCENT – but we don’t pronounce the C, so it still sounds like assent. And it comes from the verb ascend that means rise, go up, climb. So it might mean in this case, a rise in rank or status.
Finn : Ok – so we are talking about Mr Bush’s ascent yes? So a rise in rank, his rise in rank, or in importance… this is the meaning here is it?
Abigail : Yes – so we are talking about Mr Bush's rise to the White House – his ascent to the presidency. So, you might talk about any politician's ascent to power. You could say their ascent to power was rapid or unexpected.
Finn : Ok – so two words there. Assent meaning to agree or say yes to and ascent meaning to climb or rise, perhaps in rank. Again the key is to listen to the context and see which is the correct one when you hear them in a news story.
"…media owners and civil activists are calling upon the president not to give his assent to the bill…"
"…she is credited with Mr Bush's ascent to the White House…"
So we heard Finn and Abigail talking about the words assent and ascent. Let’s see if you can identify the two different words when used in a sentence. So, the two meanings are: assent – meaning saying yes, and ascent – meaning rise or going up
Listen to these examples and see if you can get the right meaning.
"Sir Alex Ferguson's ascent into managerial folklore came in the famous Stadium of Light."
"A woman seeking to become the first from Northern Ireland to reach the summit of Mount Everest is to begin her ascent this weekend."
So did you get them right?
Let’s recap the spellings of those two words. Assent – meaning agreement, is spelt ASSENT and ascent – meaning going up, is ASCENT.