Sole vs. Soul
But before we get into a detailed explanation for each word, let’s take a quick look at the contexts in which they are used. “Sole” can be used both as an adjective and a noun, whereas “soul” is only ever a noun. In both cases, each word has several different meanings, depending on the context. Read the examples below to learn exactly in what situations you can use “soul” and “sole” correctly.
When do we use “sole”?
Sometimes used as an adjective, other times as a noun, “sole” is a common English word with various meanings depending on context. As an adjective, “sole'' is primarily a perfect synonym for “only”, when referring to a single person, object, situation etc.; but it can also be used to describe something that is not shared with anyone else. In both cases, when the word is used as an adjective, it is always placed before a noun.
Furthermore, as a noun, “sole” has three completely different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. Firstly, “sole” may refer to the underside of the foot’ the part that people walk on. Secondly, it may refer to the part of the shoe that has contact with the floor. Thirdly, “sole” is also the name of a flat, small fish that can be eaten.
When do we use “soul”?
Simpler than “sole” due to it belonging only to one word order, “soul” is only ever a noun. The word has three completely different meanings, according to the context in which it is used. The primary meaning for the word “soul” is the spiritual essence or core of a person that has no physical entity and which some people or religions believe continues to exist beyond this lifetime. Many believe the soul is the true person and the human body is there to house it, so to speak.
Secondly, “soul” is the name of a popular musical genre, originally performed by Black Americans, which usually expresses deep feelings and emotions. And lastly, “soul” can also be used informally – not in formal contexts – when referring to a person.
Example 1: May her soul rest in peace. – “soul” is considered to be that part of a person that is not their physical body and that is considered by some to continue to exist even after physical death.
Although they sound very similar, and even though they have multiple meanings and belong to differing word orders, “sole'' and “soul” actually have nothing in common and are two words with completely different meanings. Make sure you correctly understand and remember each of them in order to avoid using one instead of the other and to spell them correctly.