There are various misconceptions when it comes to the English language. From grammatical rules to spellings and correct usage of words, there is almost no end to them. However, one popular confusion is with the use of similar words. That is why you might be wondering, what is the correct spelling for these words: gist or jist?
“Gist” is the main point or essence of a thing. It can also refer to a summary of a thing. While in the legal context, it refers to the various grounds for legal actions. This is the correct spelling of the word. In contrast, “jist” is merely a wrong spelling of the word “gist,” although quite common.
Now, while this sounds all straightforward, this is not the case. This is because both words sound similar, and you can easily confuse them if you are new to them. Well, that is why we need to understand its usage. We have got you covered, and we will dive deep into this article.
When to and How to Properly Use the Word “Gist”
Having a good grasp of the English Language requires you to know when and how to use certain words. These words are those that can be easily confused with other words. One of such words is “gist.”
However, to fully understand this, you must know the meaning of the word itself. So, what do you convey as your message when you use the word “gist?”
The word “gist” refers to the crux of something. Precisely, when you say that you want to hear the gist of a particular event or occurrence, it means that you are concerned about its essence or the main points.
Now, let us paint a picture that will help you understand the use of the word better. You got invited to a party with your friends. However, you had to skip it due to pressing work deadlines. Now, your friends went to the party only to come back and tell you that a major event happened at the party.
So, curious, you ask your friend to tell you about it. Unfortunately, your friend starts from when they arrive at the party, although the event did not happen until the final stages of the party. Since you still have some tasks to complete, you will most likely tell your friend to get to the story’s gist.
In this situation, you are telling your friend to skip the unnecessary stories. You are also telling them to get right to the interesting and main parts of the story. Now, this is how to use the word “gist” properly. You use it to refer to the significant aspect of a story. The goal is to ensure that you can avoid wasting time and get informed about what you are interested in.
Now that we have that all cleared up let us have some illustrative examples. These examples will make use of the word “gist” in a sentence. This will ensure that you gain a deeper understanding of its usage. If that is clear, let us get right to these examples.
- There is no doubt that we are all gathered here to hear the gist of the meeting at the headquarters yesterday. Unfortunately, the number of people here shows that there is quite a panic.
- We are all looking forward to learning about the bachelor’s party’s gist we did not get an invitation to yesterday. We hope it is nothing exciting as we would have missed out on a lot.
However, that is not the only meaning of the word “gist.” It also has a legal context. There is no doubt that it is not as popular as its general usage. Regardless, we must understand the word’s legal usage for a comprehensive understanding of how to use the word properly. So, what does the word “gist” conveys when you use it legally?
When you use the word legally, it means the grounds that a party bases its legal actions on. For instance, someone can sue for damages in a court of law. Then, the action must have a gist. That is, what the party plans to establish to convince the court that they deserve the damages they have requested for.
In this case, it might be that the party getting sued had damaged their property. So, when you use the word “gist” in a legal context, it means the root causes or reasons that acts as the foundation of an action.
It would be best if you kept in mind that this meaning of the word stands closer to the word’s origin. This is because we can trace the origin of the word to the early 18th century. This word also comes from Anglo-French when the word was part of a phrase.
The phrase stood as “c’est action gist.” This means that “this action lies.” Invariably, if you intend to pass across a message that something is the foundation of legal action, then this word comes in handy. You can use the word “gist” to pass across your messages.
You can see the examples below for illustrative examples. This will help you further understand how the word gets used within a sentence. This way, you can gain a deeper understanding of how to use the words yourself. Now, let us look at these examples.
- I believe that the gist of his claim for negligence is that his employer did not maintain the reasonable standard of care expected to safeguard those working with abrasive wheels.
- I do not think that the judge was impressed by the gist of the suit as the court dismissed the case even before it started for lack of jurisdiction.
When to and How to Properly Use the Word “Jist”
We have already covered the use of the word “gist” above. Next, we will dive into the use of the word “jist.” However, as usual, you will need to understand the meaning of the word gist before you can get any meaningful understanding of its usage.
So, what does the word “jist” mean?
While you might sound surprised, the word “jist” does not mean anything. It is merely a misused word. Precisely, it gets misused by various writers as an alternative to the word “gist.” Unfortunately, what they do not realize is that the use of this word is merely an error.
No doubt there is a similarity between both words. This is in their pronunciation. However, this similarity in their pronunciation should not get confused with a similarity in meaning. “Jist” does not convey the same meaning as “gist” and has never done.
At best, you can trace the use of the word “jist” to the American Southern accent. Typically, this word is a variant of the word “just” and gets used as a replacement, especially by actors. For instance, rather than writing a sentence as “People should just stay at home,” you can write it as “People should jist stay at home.”
Now, in this sense, the word “jist” can work as both an adverb and an adjective. So, it takes the characteristics of the word “just” and can function in very much the same way. You can see the examples below to gain more understanding.
- I jist want to let you know that I will be here for you, no matter what.
- I think it is high time we do not jist focus on one organization.
However, this use is incorrect and not recommended because it is still a misspelled word.
Understanding Which One to Use Between “Gist” and “Jist”
Now, unto the question that is definitely on your mind, we will answer that in a jiffy. We bet you are wondering which is correct of the two options. Well, while you are at it, the variety “gist” is the right word to use.
So, if you intend to pass across any of the two meanings discussed above, then use the word “gist.”
You might be wondering how you remember this difference without making a mistake. Well, we have got you covered. We have a means that allows you to do this easily.
So, here is what you need to know to make it work. Always remember that the correct spelling will be using the letter “G”, and if you ever see it spelled or spell it yourself with “J” then you are doing it wrong.
You will come across the idea that the English language has a wide variety of words with similar pronunciations but different meanings. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat confusing for people. This is why using each of the words “gist” and ‘jist” can be tricky. Whether spelled with a “G” or “J” the meaning remains the same.
However, that does not have to be the case anymore. We have explained that the correct word to use is “gist,” and “jist” is a wrong variant. We have also explained how best to remember the correct usage. Great right?
Now, all that is left for you to do is read up and stay correct when writing!
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He’s one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don’t even want to know what he calls pancakes.