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Weekly Error

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My [principle] reason for doing this exercise – and others like it – is to improve my ability to eliminate common errors that might undermine my credibility.

 

To

My [principal] reason for doing this exercise – and others like it – is to improve my ability to eliminate common errors that might undermine my credibility.

 

Incorrect word choice (usage):  

Principle is an underlying value or truth, as in five principles of effective writing. Note that its last two letters are the same as the last two letters of the word rule.  Principle is always a noun, never an adjective.

 

Principal means “main” or “chief.” Note that the principal, or the person who runs a school, is both a “pal” and the chief, and that principal can be either a noun, as in 3M’s new principal, or an adjective, as in your principal objection to this approach.

 

Weekly Tip

See Error Checklist for a compilation of 75 common writing errors.

For more exercises in identifying common errors,
take the M.B.A. exam and
the Punctuation and Grammar Challenges.