At first look, these two words not only sound alike but their spellings are only one letter apart. Despite these similarities, ascent and assent are worlds apart in terms of their meanings and usage.
Ascent is a noun that denotes “the act of rising or mounting upward” or “an advance in social status or reputation”. Its verb form is ascend.
“China Car Surge Sends Palladium on Steepest Ascent in Six Years”
“Justin Trudeau’s Surprising Ascent”
The New Yorker
“The ascent from virtualization to the cloud”
Meanwhile, assent has two uses. It can be used as a noun which means “the expression of approval or agreement”.
“Historic one nation, one tax enabling bill gets Elders’ assent”
The New Indian Express
“Reports advise on obtaining informed consent from parents, assent from patient”
“Same-sex Manx marriages can go ahead after Royal Assent”
Assent may also be used as a verb that denotes “to express approval or agreement, typically officially.”
“President ‘reluctant’ to assent to Bill to cap interest rates, says Treasury CS”
“Chisi urges Mutharika not to assent to Customary Land bill: ‘Malawians should not pay fees for their land’”
“Raila urges President Kenyatta to assent to interest rate Bill”
Sometimes, a third word, accent, gets thrown into the mix with these two. As a noun, it means “a distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, especially one associated with a particular nation, locality, or social class”.
“Reader worries her obese stepdaughter with a Southern accent will not get a job”
“Is Siri Racist? Why Virtual Assistants Can’t Understand Accents”
Accent may also be used as a verb which means “to emphasize a particular feature”.
“Latino players want real names, accented”
To summarize, remember these three things: Ascent is usually used as a noun referring to the act of rising or mounting upward or climbing in social status. Assent is an expression of agreement. Lastly, accent is a way of speaking.