Top Tips for IELTS

Principal – IELTS word of the day

Today’s word from the academic word list is


Notes on Principle and Principal

Okay, there is one major problem with Principal– there’s another word Principle. It’s a very common mistake to confuse them. So what is the difference and how can you avoid the principle and principal problem?

Principal – the adjective

Principal is mostly an adjective – similar in meaning “main” or “major”.  It’s an excellent word for your writing. For instance:

The principal reason why this is happening that ….

The principal difference between men and women in the workplace is…

One of the principal factors in global warming is …..

The principal aim of the government should be

How can you remember this? Well, -al words are mostly adjectives. Think of global, environmental, neutral, annual etc etc

Principle – the noun

Principle by contrast is used as a noun. It too is a very useful and common word and means “belief” or “idea”. Here are one or two examples:

This is based on the principle of

While this may  sound good in principle, in practice it….

One of the fundamental principles of Western society is that…

It is important to establish the principle first and then….

Principal – the noun

Just to confuse you though, Principal is also sometimes used as a noun – mostly in education – and here it means “head teacher”.


Test yourself a little

principle and principal

Congratulations - you have completed principle and principal. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Shaded items are complete.


Get more help with IELTS preparation on the main pages of my site

Home page

Speaking Guide

Writing Guide

Essay writing guide

Academic task 1 guide

Letter writing guide

Reading guide

Listening guide

IELTS vocabulary

IELTS grammar

Keep up with me on Facebook - all the updates and even more advice there


Or just get all my free lessons by email

Subscribe to DC IELTS by Email

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply