Easily confused and perhaps the wrong word altogether…

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

While reading an agent website I came across the word “discrete.” It looked wrong, so of course I looked it up.which word should you choose?

What I found was that the agent probably intended to write “discreet.” But then, I thought even that was not the word that fit the sentence. I think that since the agent was talking about a listing consultation, the word should have been “confidential.”

What do you think?

  • Discrete means distinct or unconnected; constituting a separate entity
  • Discreet means inconspicuous, intentionally unobtrusive, proper, or private.

The “private” part fits.. However, I think “confidential” is still a better choice, because it conveys the message that you won’t be talking about the seller or his/her plans after the meeting.

To me the word “discreet” has connotations that are more related to “clandestine,” which often relates to illicit behavior. With that in mind, I think we should consider the reader and what the connotation (for any of the words we use) might be in his or her mind.

You choose: discreet or confidential. Just stay away from discrete because it simply doesn’t make sense in that context.

 

graphic courtesy of Stuart Miles @freedigitalphotos.net

Comments (31)

Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Michael Jacobs I think that the comments are often the most interesting part of a post.

Dec 06, 2019 08:36 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Marte,

Confidential means there is a big potential for leakage in the arena we work in.  Discreet is usually done in such a way that it is not even noticed. Most confidential stuff is in the news next day and deliberately leaked for publicity...A

Dec 06, 2019 09:46 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks for the chuckle, Ron and Alexandra Seigel. I agree, in many arenas today, confidential is far from it!

Dec 06, 2019 10:15 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

                                what i learned

                                                 Thank you, Marte. 

Dec 07, 2019 06:25 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thank you Kathy Streib - it's always an honor to be included in your Sunday lineup!

Dec 07, 2019 08:10 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Marte Cliff ,

As always you make so much sense and is a good lesson. I'm glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moment for the week as I missed it. Finding the right word that hopefully means the same word to everyone should always be the goal.

Dec 08, 2019 07:37 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Marte. Don't mess with language or you could send a message you don't intend.

Dec 08, 2019 07:53 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I always appreciate your posts and the dialog that ensues in the comments too. Discreet vs confidential. :)  Personally, confidential works for me. 
"Meant to be kept secret within a certain circle of people ( lender, agent, title) and intended not to be shared publicly." 

Dec 08, 2019 08:13 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

I really enjoy your posts and pointing out the right and wrong of word choices. No question 'confidential' is the better word choice here.

Dec 08, 2019 08:32 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR Our language doesn't make it easy!

That's right Sheila Anderson - we have to be careful.

That works for me took Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD.

Dec 08, 2019 08:39 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Mimi Foster - but as we see from the comments, not all agree.

Dec 08, 2019 08:40 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Simple spelling mistakes can really change the tone of what someone is trying to say.  One that bothers me is: peek, peak or pique.  Such different meanings but they get used almost interchangeably.

Dec 08, 2019 04:15 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 Yes, those are annoying. How about rain, rein, and reign? I see those confused a lot too!

Dec 08, 2019 09:15 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post! I can see why Kathy chose to highlight it this week!

Dec 09, 2019 07:05 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I thought you were going to say that "discrete" was a misspelling of "discreet."  I've learned today that it's actually a word.

Dec 09, 2019 07:51 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Margaret Goss Yes, it's a word. But in the context where I saw it, it was a misspelling. Kinda like "there" is a word, but if you mean "their" then it's a misspelling.

Dec 09, 2019 01:21 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Good catch. I think I would have to hear the whole sentence to know which word was far more accurate in terms of the meaning intended. I'll take your word for it because this is right up your alley.

Dec 09, 2019 04:54 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jill Sackler I forget the exact words, but the sentence was regarding a listing consultation.

Dec 09, 2019 08:03 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

I probably would have used confidential, too, but I see the point Ron and Alexandra made. Either way, one should, as you say, be careful about the words that are chosen.

Jeff

Dec 11, 2019 08:47 PM