Some commonly confused words
In British English, presently is used to mean ‘not now, later’ or ‘in a minute’.
- ‘Mummy, can I have a chocolate?’ ‘Presently, dear.’ (= Not now, later)
In American English, presently is used to mean ‘now’ or ‘at present’. This is becoming very common in British English too.
- She is presently working on molecular biology.
Price and prize
The price is what you pay when you buy something. A prize is what you are given when you win a competition.
- What is the price of that blue shirt? (NOT What is the prize of that blue shirt?)
- She is the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for physics. (NOT She is the first woman to win the Nobel Price for physics.)
Principal and principle
These two words have the same pronunciation. As an adjective principal means ‘main’ or ‘most important’.
- He is the principal player in the team.
- What is your principal reason for wanting to be a scientist?
As a noun principal means ‘headmaster’ or ‘headmistress’.
- The principal wants to see you regarding the broken window.
A principle is a scientific law or a moral rule.
- She has strong principles.
- Who discovered the principle of universal gravitation?