principal (English) and principl-e (French) vs. principal (English) et principe (French)

The English words principal and principle are homophones – they sound alike but have different meanings.

In English, principal is an adjective meaning first in order, in importance and can be replaced by main: principal cities are main cities of a country. As a noun, the principal is a person such as the Deputy principal or the school principal.

As an adjective, principal is similar to its French counterpart principal-e and means main or most important.

  • Un objectif principal – a main goal, a principal objective (note the plural: des objectifs principaux)
  • La rue principale – the main street

Principles, in both languages, refer to fundamental truths, theories, laws or a fundamental basis of something.

Please review the following:

  • IN principle, I agree with you. → EN principe, je suis d’accord avec vous / toi.
  • ON principle (or BY principle), I refuse. →PAR principe, je refuse.

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