Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Principal and principle

Principal and principle are two different words with quite different meanings.

Be careful to decide which one you want to use and be sure to spell it correctly.

"Principal" is an adjective meaning "main", "primary" or "most important".

Example:

"Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg, two of most admired principal dancers on the roster of the Royal Ballet, in London, announced on Monday that they would leave the company at the end of the current season."
New York Times, June 3, 2013.

In legal and financial English, "principal" can also be a noun referring to a person represented by an agent.

It is also a noun when it indicates the head of an institution such as a college.

"Principle" is an abstract noun meaning "rule", "standard" or "doctrine".

It is of principal importance that you stick to your principles.

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