Principle and principal are easily confused. It doesn’t help that they are homophones, which means they sound alike. Here’s a guide to what they mean and how you can tell them apart.
The word principle means a standard, a law or a rule. This means you can have:
- the principles of economics, which are the laws that govern economic theory
- moral principles, which are the rules and standards that govern your behavior
The word principal usually refers to a person. Remember that it ends in ‘pal’, which is a person. A principal can be:
- the head of a school
- the head of an organization
- the main person involved in a contract or financial negotiation
Putting It All Together
If you remember that principal is a person, then you can easily make sense of this sentence:
The principal taught us the first principle of social responsibility.