Chapter 11 - “Principle” vs. “Principal”

  edgood  —  Grammar Tips
“Here’s the principle reason he flunked the course.”

Many writers use the “my principal is my pal” trick to help distinguish between principal and principle. But that trick fails to cover the many different meanings of principal. When you finish this chapter, you’ll use the two words correctly.

Principle vs. Principal: An Overview

Many writers confuse principle and principal. The mistake will stand out like a sore thumb in your writing, for you can rest assured that many readers out there know the difference. Let’s explore the differences between these two words and straighten out the confusion.

No Common Meanings

First of all, consider this all-important fact: The two words share no common meanings. They are indeed as different as night and day.

Second of all, let’s discard that old approach we learned in grade school, the one about your principal being your pal. That trick does describe one of the definitions of principal, but only one. It helps not at all with understanding most definitions of principal.


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