4/16/2008

The principal takes a principled stand

Mr. Rewrite is ever so excited about The Paper, MTV's new reality series about a high school newspaper. As much as he loved last night's premiere, he was beating his head on the keyboard after seeing the mistake at right in a caption with photos from the opening party.

Since the target audience for this show and for this slideshow is young people, allow Mr. Rewrite to offer a virtual spit take. Yikes.

It goes without saying to this audience, but Mr. Rewrite will say it anyway ...

The head of a school is a principal, and principal also applies to things that are first in rank (e.g. "The principal reason Mr. Rewrite watched "The Paper" is he knows the teacher who's featured."). Principal can be a noun or adjective.

A principle, among other things, is a rule of conduct or a fundamental tenet. Principle is used only as a noun, though principled is an adjective.

Those paid to know better do well with principal/principle, but the few mistakes are grating enough that you'll want to send the offenders to the principal's office:

1 comment:

Thomas Fowler said...

Mr. Bartay was our assistant principal and chief disciplinarian in high school. We called him Black Bart. He tolerated that since he more interested in being feared than in being loved. But he would correct us if we misspelled his title: "Remember," he would say through his little yellow teeth, "I am your pal--your principal."

Right. But it gave me a good way to remember the correct spelling.