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Difference between conscience or conscious

conscience or conscious

In this article, we delve into the distinct concepts of conscience and conscious, terms often confused due to their similar spellings and pronunciation but with entirely different meanings. We’ll explore their grammar aspects, origins, definitions, and use in language, aiming for clarity and simplicity to make these concepts accessible to everyone.

Quick Facts Table

Part of SpeechNounAdjective
DefinitionA person’s moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behavior.Aware of and responding to one’s surroundings; awake.
OriginMiddle English (also in the sense ‘inner thought or knowledge’), from Old French conscience, from Latin conscientia, from conscire ‘be privy to’, from con- ‘with’ + scire ‘know’.Middle English (in the sense ‘being aware of wrongdoing’): from Old French conscient, from Latin conscient- ‘being privy to’, from the verb conscire, from con- ‘with’ + scire ‘know’.

Difference Between “Conscience” and “Conscious”

Definition of Conscience

Conscience refers to the inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior. It is a critical aspect of a person’s moral and ethical decision-making process, influencing how they act and react in various situations based on their moral principles.

Definition of Conscious

Conscious, on the other hand, is an adjective that describes being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings. A conscious individual is awake and has a sense of self-awareness, capable of recognizing their environment, thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

Origin of Conscience

The term conscience stems from Middle English, derived from Old French conscience, and ultimately from Latin conscientia, which means ‘inner thought or knowledge’. The Latin root conscire translates to ‘be privy to’, combining con- (with) + scire (know).

Origin of Conscious

Conscious comes from Middle English, relating initially to ‘being aware of wrongdoing’. It is derived from Old French conscient, from Latin conscient-, the participle stem of conscire—to be privy to, combining con- (with) + scire (know).


  • Conscience: /ˈkɒnʃəns/
  • Conscious: /ˈkɒnʃəs/

Comparing Conscience and Conscious

NatureMoral guideState of awareness
RoleInfluences ethical decisions and judgmentsAllows for awareness of surroundings and self
ManifestationInternally as a sense of moral right and wrongExternally through sensory awareness and cognitive recognition
FocusOn moral and ethical aspects of actionsOn being awake and aware of the environment
UsageUsed to discuss ethics, morality, and internal judgmentUsed to describe the state of being awake or awareness of something

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Conscience in Sentences

  1. After stealing the money, his conscience wouldn’t let him sleep at night.
    • Explains the inner moral conflict experienced due to wrongdoing.
  2. She donated to the charity, guided by her conscience.
    • Shows an action influenced by moral principles.
  3. The decision was made in good conscience, knowing it was the right thing to do.
    • Indicates a choice aligned with one’s moral beliefs.
  4. He has a clear conscience about his actions during the negotiations.
    • Describes a lack of guilt due to ethical behavior.
  5. Her conscience urged her to apologize for her mistake.
    • Highlights the internal moral prompting to rectify a wrong.

Use of Conscious in Sentences

  1. He was conscious of the importance of making a good impression.
    • Indicates an awareness of the significance of actions.
  2. The patient became conscious after the anesthesia wore off.
    • Describes the state of waking up and becoming aware.
  3. She’s very conscious about her health and fitness.
    • Shows an intentional awareness and care for personal well-being.
  4. The movement was barely conscious, yet it caught everyone’s attention.
    • Refers to a subtle, perhaps unintentional, action that is noticed.
  5. Being conscious of our environmental impact is crucial.
    • Emphasizes the importance of awareness regarding one’s actions on the environment.


Understanding the difference between conscience and conscious is essential for clear communication and comprehension. Conscience relates to our moral compass, guiding us between right and wrong, while conscious describes our awareness of ourselves and our surroundings. Recognizing these differences enriches our language and enables us to express our thoughts and actions more accurately.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • What is the key difference between conscience and conscious?
    • Conscience is a noun referring to the moral sense of right and wrong, while conscious is an adjective describing being aware and responsive to one’s surroundings.
  • Can conscience and conscious be used interchangeably?
    • No, they cannot. They describe different concepts: moral judgment versus awareness.
  • How can I remember the difference between conscience and conscious?
    • Think of conscience as the inner voice related to moral decisions (“inner sense”), and conscious as being awake and aware (“sensing” the external world).
Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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