GCSE English

Principal and principle


Principal is either a noun or an adjective, but both uses have very similar meaning. Principle is simply a noun.

Below is an extract from an excellent local government website promoting sustainable development:

It is all too easy to muddle up principal and principle as automatic spell checkers cannot spot the mistake. Grammar checkers do no better either!

Principal (noun): the most important person in an organisation.
e.g. "Mark was a great school principal: all the pupils and teachers adored him."

Principal (adjective): the first in importance, rank, value, etc.
e.g. "The crown jewels is the principal treasure in the Tower of London."
e.g. "The principal reason for the car crash was the driver falling asleep."

Principle (noun): a standard or a rule.
e.g. "As a matter of principle, Ursula refused to fly anywhere."

Cambridge City Council should have written:
"... committed to addressing the principles of sustainable development."

It is nevertheless a good thing that local councils have such principles: GCSE.com believes sustainable development to be very important too.

Advice and advise
Affect and effect
Bought and brought
Complement and compliment
Discreet and discrete
Hear and here
Its and it's
Lead and led
Less and fewer
Licence and license
Loose and lose
  Plane and plain
Poor, pore and pour
Practice and practise
Principal and principle
Sort and sought
Stationary and stationery - new!
There, their and they're
Threw, through and thorough
To and too
Warn and Worn
Whose and who's
Your and you're

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