Desert vs Dessert
There are many pairs of words in English that have similar spellings and are also pronounced in an identical manner. However, the meanings of words in these pairs are completely different. The same applies to the pair containing desert and dessert that are both pronounced in the same fashion that can confuse non natives and all those who are trying to master the language. Let us try to make it easier for the students by highlighting the differences between the two nouns.
We all know what a desert is as we study about these arid land areas that have no or very little vegetation. These areas are characterized by very little or no rain around the year making them full of sand. In addition to hot deserts with sand and no vegetation, there are also polar deserts that also do not support any vegetation.
However, there is another meaning of desert, and that is to abandon or leave behind. “A bird deserts its young ones very early in their lives”. This is an example of the word desert which tells us that birds fly away leaving their young ones on their own. The word is also used for desolate buildings and structures that have not been frequented by human beings for a long time. The place presented a deserted look in the morning after the event.
Dessert refers to a sweet dish that is eaten after a meal as refreshment. It is the last course of a meal and well all know about them in the form of puddings, muffins, ice-creams, custards, gelatos and so on. However, the problem occurs because of the pronunciation of dessert when we hear it as desert.
Despite having clear differences in meanings between desert and dessert, the problem arises because of same pronouncements. However, if you hear clearly, you will find that when pronouncing dessert, first syllable is stressed while the second one is relaxed. When speaking desert, it is more of a z sound than s. On the other hand, in the case of dessert, the first s is pronounced in a normal fashion while the stress is placed upon the second s. If you have trouble in written English also, just remember that there are 2 s’s in a sweet dish while just one in an arid land.