I’m not the only Takeout writer who’s read Dreyer’s English, a newly published guide to clarity and style from Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer. It’s a useful book, and more irreverently fun than you’d expect a grammar book to be. But I was surprised, in his chapter on “Confusables”—the words people often mistake for each other—that Dreyer left out my favorite trick for remembering palate vs. palette vs. pallet. (As a food writer, this is a distinction I must have down pat.)
Palate is the roof of the mouth, or a person’s sense of taste. I remember its association with food because palate has the word “ate” inside it.
Palette is a painter’s color board, or a collection of colors or tones used in an artistic piece. I remember it because it the fanciest, painterly sense of palette has the most French-looking ending.
Pallet is a wooden platform often used for shipping or warehouse storage. Those two l’s in the middle make it look sturdiest to me.
I hope this trick helps you as much as it’s helped me. Please deposit any other grammar tricks in the comments, because I can’t get enough.