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Grammar Tips & Tidbits

 

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Homophone Potpourri Series: Part III

The English language brings with it a never-ending list of homophones, or
words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings.¹ Many spelling errors occur because of confusion between homophones, so this week's tip features a "potpourri" of homophones for your comparison.

The following definitions are excerpts from Dictionary.com. Example sentences are original content provided by Accu-Assist.

Ensure vs. Insure

●   Ensure: To make sure or certain. (verb)

    Example: Please ensure that you've formatted the letter correctly.

●   Insure: To guarantee against loss or harm.  (verb)

    Example: The company has agreed to insure the painting.

Principle vs. Principal:


●   Principle: An accepted or professed rule of action or conduct. (noun)

    Example: He is a man of high values and principles.

●   Principle: A fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from
    which others are derived. (noun)

    Example: We studied the basic principles of economics in
    yesterday's class.

●   Principal: A capital sum, as distinguished from interest or
    profit. (noun)

    Example: It will take many years to pay off the principal of the loan.

●   Principal: The head or director of a school or, esp. in England,
    a college. (noun)

    Example: Kevin was called to the principal's office because of
    his bad behavior.

Quick Memory Tip

My husband was taught that the school principal was your pal, and as such, the last three letters of the word principal should be spelled p-a-l. I don't know of too many kids who are "pals" with their principals, but if this trick works for you, feel free to use it!

Did any of these homophones take you by surprise? I'd love to hear about it! Just email me to let me know which ones were new to you.

Remember, spell-checker won't catch these words if they're used incorrectly, so be sure to add the Grammar Tips & Tidbits Archive to your bookmarks or favorites folder for future reference.

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●  Read past grammar tips in the Grammar Tips & Tidbits Archive. Be sure
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    future reference.

 

Sources:

1. Wikipedia contributors. "Homophone." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophone (accessed July 25, 2007).

2. Dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/ (accessed July 25, 2007).