Skip to main content

Incite vs. Insight (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use incite vs. insight with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Whether or not you've hit your limit, I never tire of untangling homophones. For instance, incite and insight sound like the same word, but one is used to rile up the masses, while the other is used to glean knowledge (though I suppose that knowledge could be used to rile up the masses too, but I digress).

(Grammar rules for writers.)

So let's look at the differences of incite and insight, including a few examples of correct usages.

incite_vs_insight_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Incite vs. Insight

Incite is a verb that means to rile up, spur on, or put in motion. A person gives a stirring speech that incites a march on the center of town. Or a team loses (or sometimes wins) a big sporting match that incites celebration and riots in the streets.

(The chaotically seductive path to persuasive copy.)

Insight, on the other hand, is a noun that describes the act or ability to comprehend the inner nature of things, people, and/or situations. For instance, a person may have an insight into what incited a riot. Or the same person may have an insight about the best chili in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Make sense?

Here are some examples:

Correct: The baby brother may incite a fight between his older sisters by tattling on what each is doing.
Incorrect: The baby brother may insight a fight between his older sisters by tattling on what each is doing.

Correct: My only basketball insight is that my brother always shoots with his right hand and never his left.
Incorrect: My only basketball incite is that my brother always shoots with is right hand and never his left.

Correct: She used her insight about the CEO bonus package to incite a strike at the factory.

Here's the trick I use for these two words: I think of "insight" as using a form of "sight" to understand a person, thing, or situation, which means "incite" is the other word. Personally, I hope these Grammar Rules deliver helpful insights about how to use language and incite enthusiasm about digging deeper into proper usage.

And be sure to check out all the latest grammar rules here or these posts from 2021:

*****

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.