Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (part 16)

Here are some more commonly confused or misused words and how to use them correctly:

Vinegarette vs. vinaigrette

Wrong: I’d like vinegarette dressing on my salad.
Right: I’d like vinaigrette dressing on my salad.

Although frequently seen, this is a simple misspelling/mispronunciation (vin-uh-ger-ETTE) of the French word vinaigrette (vin-uh-GRET or VEEN-uh-gret), based on confusion with vinegar, which is often (but not always) a principal component of the dressing.

Principal vs. principle

Wrong: He refused on principal.
Right: He refused on principle.

A principal (noun) is something or someone of foremost importance (for example, a school principal or a meeting among the principals in a transaction). It can also be used as an adjective (the principal reason for something). A principle (noun-only) is a rule of conduct or action, or a doctrine or tenet, among other meanings.

There are plenty more words of this type to go, so stay tuned for the next installment.


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