Little Book of Confusables

Principal vs principle: do you know the difference?

PRINCIPAL or PRINCIPLE: which is which? Simple spelling tips to help you remember the difference.

PRINCIPAL or PRINCIPLE – two words with very different meanings. What do they mean – and how do you decide which spelling you need? It’s easy.

These spelling tips will help you decide whether you need to write PRINCIPAL or PRINCIPLE.


PRINCIPAL is a noun, meaning the head of a school or college, or the most important person within an organisation.

The easiest way to learn this is to remember that PAL is a noun: your PAL the princiPAL.

For example:

“Ms George is the college principal.”

Spelled this way, PRINCIPAL is also an adjective, meaning the chief or most important.

“Increasing turnover is our principal goal.”

Remember the in principAl and the A in mAin.


PRINCIPLE is also a noun that describes a fundamental truth or belief.

For example:

“These are the principles of good grammar.”
“I don’t agree with his principles.”

I hope this helps you to remember the difference between PRINCIPAL and PRINCIPLE.

Want more writing tips?

For more language love, join my Clever Copy Club and get monthly updates direct to your inbox. Alternatively, email me, follow me on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn or like my page on Facebook.

Get more tips in The Little Book of Confusables

Confusables: PRINCIPAL vs PRINCIPLE. Simple spelling tips to remember the difference, from The Little Book of Confusables

PRINCIPAL vs PRINCIPLE. Excerpt from The Little Book of Confusables by Sarah Townsend.

The Little Book of Confusables by Sarah Townsend

No more confusing words!

Master 600 confusing words with The Little Book of Confusables: 300 gorgeous pages packed with memorable, fun spelling tips – from ACCEPT + EXCEPT to YOUNG + YOUTHFUL.

Loved by writers everywhere, this multi-award-winning guide has been described as The perfect book for anyone who ever has to write anything!”.


Your fun guide to confusing words
The Little Book of Confusables
Buy Now