Common Confusion: Proscribe & Prescribe

Proscribe and prescribe are easy to confuse. After all, they’re both verbs and only one letter differentiates them.

Proscribe means to ban or forbid, often in the legal sense. Prescribe means to advise, authorize, recommend or direct.


  • The physician prescribed two months of physical therapy for the best recovery.
  • The local government hoped to prevent crime by proscribing loitering.
  • HR regulations prescribe employees to complete three fitness activities each quarter.
  • Some patients may bribe their doctors to prescribe them certain medicine, but this is strictly proscribed.

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