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Canon vs. Cannon

The words Canon and Cannon might sound the same, but have different meanings and different spellings. In this article, you will learn the differences between these two confusing words.

2:37 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Do you ever wonder how much difference one single letter in a word in English language? Embrace yourself! Canon and cannon are two different words with entirely different meanings. One is a law while the other one is a weapon. In this article we will describe the meanings and usage of both the canon and cannon with everyday examples to help you understand the difference between the two.

Canon as noun:

The general principle, rule or law which is used as a tool to judge something is termed as canon. The bribe violated the canons of equal opportunity and fair play. A church law or decree is also a canon. Canon is also used to term a collection of sacred or genuine books, the biblical canon. The genuine work of a renowned author or artist is also canon, the Wordsworth canon. The list of the worked that are considered to be permanently established as being of great quality, “Hopkins was firmly established in the canon of English poetry." Canon is also utilized in the Music industry and means a piece in which the same melody is begun in different parts successively, so that the imitations overlap.

He composed a simple rhythmic structure of this double canon.

Cannon as noun:

A heavy and large piece of artillery that is typically mounted on wheels and was used in warfare in the past. The village was bombarded with cannons. A field gun or a large piece of ordinance is also a cannon. "The gunships blasted arms depots with 105 mm cannon fire and rockets." In snooker cannon is regarded as a stroke in which the cue ball strikes two balls successively.

He shot a cannon.

Cannon as verb:

When something strikes or collides with another thing very forcefully, at a particular angle, it is known as cannon. The car behind almost cannoned into us. The snooker meaning of cannon is to make a shot which strikes two balls successively.

She made a smooth cannon shot.


Canon vs. Cannon

The plural of canon, with a single n, is always canons i.e. a set of rules are canons. However, the plural of cannon, with two ns, can either be cannons or cannon. The soldiers lined up the cannons in the enemy’s direction. It can also be written as:

The soldiers lined up the cannon in the enemy’s direction.

The word cannon in the above sentence refer to a series of cannon(s) lined up for enemy, not a single cannon.

Canon vs. cannon:

Here is a little test for you. Is the following sentence correct?

His remarks in the courtroom last week violated the cannon of ethics for lawyers.

If your answer is No, then you are following this topic and if you guessed Yes, well, you have to start reading from the start again.

The trick to remember the crucial difference between the canon and cannon is that cannon (with two ns) is the longer word, thus it means a big gun. While the smaller word canon (with a single n) is a mere body of literature.

Who do you think will win a war between canon and cannon?

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1 Comment
  • Anonymous
    The cleric who is a canon is not mentioned. 
    LikeReply3 years ago
    • WestieLvr
      You are being picky, wouldn't you say? By saying "church", it is inferred that one is meaning the universal church as a whole, not just the Christian church.
      LikeReply2 years ago


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