PRINCIPLE or PRINCIPAL? An Easy Tip for Remembering Which is Which.

Because both PRINCIPLE and PRINCIPAL are legitimate words, a spell checker will not pinpoint your error if you use the wrong one. The good news is that, like CAPITOL and CAPITAL, there is any easy way to remember when to use which one.

PRINCIPLE  is a noun that has only one meaning–a basic rule or standard, as of good behavior. Here are some examples of using it correctly:

The judge will not compromise his principles.

She based her decision on principle rather than greed.

Our country operates according to the principles of democracy.

 

PRINCIPAL has several usual meanings–the head of an elementary or high school (noun), highest in rank or worth (adjective), the main participant (noun), describing the person having a starring role in a production (adjective), the capital or main portion of a financial holding (noun). Here are some examples of using it correctly:

Melissa Jones is the principal  at Valley Elementary. 

Paul is the principal partner in that firm.

The briefing included all of the principals involved in the transaction.

Smetlana is the principal ballerina with that company.

Our invested principal  is no longer earning seven percent interest. 

 

Just remember: PRINCIPLE has only one meaning. Everything else will be PRINCIPAL.

 

 


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