The Distinction Between Principal and Principle

March 18, 2024
The Distinction Between Principal and Principle

The Distinction Between Principal and Principle

The Difference Between Principal and Principle

Principal and principle are two words that sound similar but have different meanings.


History: The word “principal” comes from the Latin word principālis, meaning first or foremost.

How to use: Principal is often used to refer to a person who holds a high position in a school or organization. It can also refer to the original sum of money invested or loaned.

Trick to Remember the Difference: Think of the principal of a school as being your “pal” or friend who leads the school.

Examples of Principal:

1. The principal of our school is very friendly and approachable.

2. She invested the principal amount in a new business venture.

3. The principal reason for his success is hard work.

4. The principal objective of the project is to increase efficiency.

5. The bank deducted the interest and sent the check for the principal back to the customer.


History: The word “principle” also comes from the Latin principium, meaning beginning or starting point.

How to use: Principle refers to a fundamental truth, law, or belief that guides behavior or thinking.

Trick to Remember the Difference: Remember that “principle” contains the word “rule” – a rule that guides your actions.

Examples of Principle:

1. She believes in the principle of honesty in all situations.

2. The company operates on the principle that customer satisfaction is paramount.

3. It is against his principles to cheat or lie.

4. The principle of supply and demand affects prices in the market.

5. He always acts according to his principles, no matter what others think.


Remember, the principal is a person or an amount of money, while principle is a fundamental truth or belief. If you keep the rule of thumb in mind, it will help you use these words correctly in your writing.