principle vs. principal
Thread poster: Edward Potter

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 3, 2003

These two are commonly confused. I've looked both up in several dictionaries, and the general difference is this:

principle - a guiding rule

principal - chief, main, school director

I remember back in 8th grade my English teacher said, your princiPAL is your PAL.

Would anyone like to shed any more light on these two words?


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J. Leo
Local time: 03:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
He isn't everyone's PAL Jul 3, 2003

Through the years, my caseload in the mental health field has been full of many principals' enemies.
I was also told the same 'rule of thumb' thay you refer to.


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Andres Pacheco  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Currently... Jul 3, 2003

...I am formatting documents which include sections called "Main Functions." I was asked to change some instances in which they appear as "Principal Functions" and even "Principle Functions."

Could it be that "principle" and "principal" get confused because of their similar pronounciation?

Best regards,

Andrés


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:40
English to Tamil
+ ...
It is a matter of principle not even to return the principal Jul 4, 2003

Principal refers also to the original loan amount before interest is added. In our neighbourhood there was a shameless borrower for whom it was a matter of principle not even to return the principal, what to say of the interest and if it a principal of a high school that lent money to this fellow, this principal will not get to see his principal ever again and therefore it is a good principle not to lend money to this borrower without any principle.

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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:10
Italian to English
+ ...
Principal in banking/finance Jul 17, 2003

There are also these specific definitions of princiPAL:

Definition 1
The amount borrowed, or the part of the amount borrowed which remains unpaid (excluding interest). here also called principal amount.

Definition 2
The part of a monthly payment that reduces the outstanding balance of a mortgage.

Definition 3
The original investment.

Definition 4
The entity on whose behalf an agent acts.

Definition 5
The role a broker/dealer plays when buying or selling securities for its own account.

Definition 6
An important company executive.

As far as I know, however, principle is a rule or ethical standard, e basta.

From www.investorwords.com


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:10
German to Italian
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no problem Jul 18, 2003

I've never confused these two words. Curiously, there are many words whose spelling is problematic for native speakers (eg. its and it's) but not for foreigners - probably not only in English.

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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:10
Italian to English
+ ...
Curiously indeed Jul 21, 2003

Lorenzo Lilli wrote:

I've never confused these two words. Curiously, there are many words whose spelling is problematic for native speakers (eg. its and it's) but not for foreigners - probably not only in English.


Ciao Lore! As an aside, at the bank I worked for previously there was an Australian that insisted on spelling it's with an apostrophe, even in the possessive! Spelling is a big problem for many native English speakers. Nobody's perfect, but this guy was a translator... A nice guy too, but everyone has their little imperfections.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:10
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
principal also equals "main" as an adjective Dec 27, 2005

The confusion is definitely due to the issue that they are homonymns (pronounced the same).

Other examples are the use of "it's" versus "its" and "there" versus "their" which I see used interchangeably all the time in writings of family, friends, colleagues, etc.

Principal also equals "main" as an adjective in contexts such as:

Principal investigator
Principal scientist


Jeff


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Last Hermit
Local time: 09:10
Chinese to English
+ ...
Apparently, you are NOT alone. Dec 28, 2005

USAGE The words principle and principal are pronounced in the same way but they do not have the same meaning. Principle is normally used as a noun meaning ¡®a fundamental basis of a system of thought or belief¡¯, as in this is one of the basic principles of democracy. Principal, on the other hand, is normally an adjective meaning ¡®main or most important¡¯, as in one of the country's principal cities. Principal can also be a noun, where it is used to refer to the most senior or most important person in an organization or other group: the deputy principal.

"principle noun"  The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition). Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Mr Last Hermit.  28 December 2005  http://www.oxford-dictionaries.co.uk/entry?entry=t140.e61631

The American Heritage Dictionary also has similar note:




USAGE NOTE:
Principal and principle are often confused but have no meanings in common. Principle is only a noun and usually refers to a rule or standard. Principal is both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it has specialized meanings in law and finance, but in general usage it refers to a person who holds a high position or plays an important role: a meeting among all the principals in the transaction. As an adjective it has the sense of ¡°chief¡± or ¡°leading¡±: The coach's principal concern is the quarterback's health.
Edward Potter wrote:

These two are commonly confused. I've looked both up in several dictionaries, and the general difference is this:

principle - a guiding rule

principal - chief, main, school director

I remember back in 8th grade my English teacher said, your princiPAL is your PAL.

Would anyone like to shed any more light on these two words?


Direct link Reply with quote
 


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principle vs. principal

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