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Phase vs. Faze

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Words that sound the same but mean different things are difficult to master when learning a new language. These words are called homophones, and like every language, English has many of them. Faze and phase are two common homophones in English. They are pronounced identically, but in writing, they can never be substituted for each other. Continue reading to find out why.

In this article, I will compare faze vs. phase. I will use each word in an example sentence to properly illustrate its meaning and context, and I will discuss a useful trick to help you decide whether to use faze or phase in your writing.

Origin:

The word phase originated in early 19th century (in sense 2 of the noun): from French phase, based on Greek phasis ‘appearance’, from the base of phainein ‘to show’. The word faze originated in mid-19th century (originally US): variant of dialect feeze ‘drive or frighten off’, from Old English fēsian, of unknown origin.

Phase as noun:

The word phase means a distinct period or stage in a process of change or forming part of something’s development.

The final phases of the war were almost over now.

Phase as a noun also means each of the aspects of the moon or a planet, according to the amount of its illumination, especially the new moon, the first quarter, the full moon, and the last quarter.

Phase as verb:

Phase is also used as a verb which means to carry out (something) in gradual stages.

The work is being phased over a number of years.

Faze as verb:

Faze is also used as a verb which means to disturb or disconcert (someone).

She was not fazed by his show of anger.

Examples:

Being told to “screw off” didn’t faze Mayor John Williams during his inaugural speech before a crowd of more than 200 people Monday. [Trentonian]

On Monday, the DOE released a list of 11 schools set to be phased out and a charter school recommended for non-renewal. [NY1]

Uncanny replicas faze monkeys, too [Futurity]

China will phase in planned changes to its loan-loss provisioning rules to give banks time to adapt. [Reuters]

Phase or faze:

While these two words are pronounced the same, their meanings are in no way related and they aren’t interchangeable in any sense. Faze is a verb that means to intimidate or daunt. Phase can be a noun, where it means a distinct stage in any of several processes, or a verb, where it means to gradually transition. Here is a helpful trick to remember phase vs. faze. If you’re using the word as a noun, choose phase. Faze is never a noun. As a verb, if you mean to intimidate or worry, use faze. In other instances, choose phase. You can remember to use faze as a synonym for daunt since it starts with the same letter as the word fret. Someone who is fazed does a lot of fretting, so it should be easy for you to keep these words straight.

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"Phase vs. Faze." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 24 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/phase_vs._faze>.

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