Friday, August 24, 2012

principal/principle: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Friday, August 24, 2012

Generations of teachers have tried to drill this one into students’ heads by reminding them, “The principal is your pal.” Many don’t seem convinced. “Principal” is a noun and adjective referring to someone or something which is highest in rank or importance. (In a loan, the principal is the more substantial part of the money, the interest is—or should be—the lesser.) “Principle” is only a noun and has to do with law or doctrine: “The workers fought hard for the principle of collective bargaining.”

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