Principle vs. Principal

Principle vs. Principal
Principle and principal are homophones, words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning. Let's take a look at their differences.

Principle (noun):

1. An accepted rule of action or conduct
2. A fundamental law or truth
3. An adopted rule set into action

1. A principle is an accepted rule of action or conduct. Here is an example: "I am a man of strong moral principles." Explanation: A person with moral principles may believe in telling the truth and helping those in need.

2. A principle can also be a fundamental law or truth from which others derive. Here is an example: "The principles of mathematics can be used to calculate savings when shopping with coupons. Explanation: The rules of math can help a person understand how to calculate the cost of an item after a percentage of it has been discounted.

3. A principle is also an adopted rule that gets set into action. Here is an example: "The teacher posts the principles of good conduct on the bulletin board at the beginning of each school year." Explanation: Students understand how to act because the teacher has posted the rules (principles) for them to follow.

Principal (noun):

1. Foremost authority or leader
2. Amount of money separate from interest; (adjective):
3. First or foremost

1. A principal (noun) is the foremost authority or leader. Here is an example: "The high school's new principal is Mr. Henry, who is looking forward to overseeing the progress of the teachers and students this year." Explanation: Mrs. Henry is the principal, so he is the one in charge in a school building.

2. The principal (noun) is an amount of capital or property in a loan aside from its interest. Here is an example: "The principal of the loan is now $5000, now that I've paid down the interest." Explanation: The principal is the amount of money borrowed, excluding interest accrued during the length of the loan.

3. Principal (adj.) conveys the idea of first or foremost. Here are two examples: 1. "My principal desire in life is to go skydiving." 2. "Max was promoted to the position of Principal Engineer."

Explanation: 1. My greatest desire is to sky dive. 2. Max is a lead engineer. He is the topmost expert in the field of engineering.

Let's use both principal and principle together in a sentence to note their different meanings:

"The school principal's principle purpose is to oversee the running of his/her school." Explanation: The leader of the school's most important responsibility is to make sure the teachers and students are doing their jobs.

Fill in the Blanks:

1. A person's _______ needs are food and shelter.
a) principal   b) principle

2. Mr. Smith is the school's _______.
a) principle   b) principal

3. My parents questioned my_________.
a) principals   b) principles

Answers: b, a, b

Related Links:
Difference between Words
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