Really Learn English Blog

In this blog you can find the latest additions to the site: articles, explanations, illustrations, exercises, flashcards and stories - all about teaching and learning English.

Adverse vs. Averse - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

Two words in English that are often confused by learners are ADVERSE and AVERSE. They are easy to mix up since there is only a one letter difference between the two words, and they also sound almost the same. It is very important that you know which is which though, because their meanings are not the same. One means to really dislike something, while the other means that something is difficult or challenging. The definitions are even a little similar, but the difference is very important! Let's go over each word and take a look at some examples to help you get a better idea of when to use adverse or averse.

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Meat vs. Meet - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

Learn all about the difference between MEAT and MEET. There are so many pairs of words in English that sound the same but have very different meanings. It is important to be able to tell the difference between these tricky word pairs so that you don't confuse people that you are trying to talk with. One example of words that can sometimes get mixed up are MEAT and MEET. These two words are homophones, meaning that they sound exactly the same, but are spelled differently and have very different meanings. One means to be acquainted with someone for the first time and the other is the flesh of an animal! You definitely do not want to mix those up.

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Fare vs. Fair (with Illustrations and Examples)

English is full of words that sound the same, but have different meanings. The words FARE and FAIR are one example of two words that are said in exactly the same way, but mean totally different things, so it's important to know the difference. How can you know when to use each one? FARE most commonly refers to the cost of a ticket for public transportation or another form of transportation. FAIR, on the other hand, means that something is right or according to the rules. It can also mean a light color, usually when talking about a person's hair or skin. But both words have several more meanings a well. Let's go over some of them.

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Dual vs. Duel? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between DUAL and DUEL: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Dual and duel are examples of homophones, meaning that they are said the same way, but have different definitions. There are lots of homophones in English and it can be hard to keep them all in order when you are learning, but it is very important that you don't mix these two up. One of them means that there are two of something, while the other means a fight! So you definitely wouldn't want to use one when you mean to use the other. Once you learn the definitions, you should have no problem getting it right. Let's take a look at some examples in order to help you understand each word better.

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Alter vs. Altar - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between ALTER and ALTAR: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Alter and altar are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? The two words are pronounced in the exact same way, and their spellings are almost identical too. Despite these similarities, their definitions are not related at all. It is important to learn the difference between alter and altar, because one word is used to talk about change and the other is used to talk about religion. You wouldn’t want to mix them up! Let’s look at some examples to help you learn the distinction

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Assent vs. Ascent - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

It can be hard to remember when to use ASSENT and when to use ASCENT. Both words sound the same. They are not spelled the same, but the spelling is very similar. There is only one letter that is different. The rest of the letters are the same. How can you tell the difference between ASSENT and ASCENT? You do not want to confuse them because they mean different things. Keep reading to learn the difference between assent and ascent.Let’s look at some examples to help you understand the difference.

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English Vocabulary for Computers

Computers are an essential part of everyone's day-to-day lives and are becoming more important all the time. Can you imagine living without a computer, the Internet or your smart phone for even just one day? It would be almost impossible! We've put together this list of computer vocabulary because these days, English language learners have to know how to talk about computers for both their personal and professional lives. People use computers constantly and even more so than for other fields, English is the dominant language for subjects such as computer science, programming and web design. In this lesson, you will learn all of the vocabulary you need to speak about computers, technology, and the Internet in English.

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English Vocabulary for the Bank

A trip to the bank requires specialized vocabulary no matter what language you speak.Managing your money in another language can be even more complicated! That’s why we put together this list of English banking words.There are a lot of different types of accounts and transactions. You want to be sure that you are explaining yourself properly, because making a mistake could cost you a lot of money! In this lesson, you will learn all of the vocabulary you need to open a bank account and manage your personal finances in English.

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Cleft Sentences

There are several ways to add emphasis (focus) to parts of your sentences in English. Cleft sentences are one way to add emphasis to what we want to say. The word

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Phrasal Verbs with "Back"

For many students, one of the most difficult parts of learning English is studying phrasal verbs. A phrasal verb is a verb that is combined with an adverb or preposition. The combination creates a new meaning, often one that is not related to the definition of the base verb and is difficult to guess. The definitions of many phrasal verbs need to be memorized. There are hundreds of phrasal verbs in English, and this can be overwhelming for students. However, you will be pleased to know that there are often patterns in how phrasal verbs are formed. Here, we’re going to look at phrasal verbs that include the preposition "back." "Back" often corresponds to one of the fourmeanings described below. Not all phrasal verbs with "back" fall into these categories, but there are many verbs that do.

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Allowed vs Aloud - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

English has a lot of words which students find confusing. The words allowed and aloud are commonly confused words because they are homophones. Homophones are words which sound the same, but they have different meanings. That means that words allowed and aloud have the same pronunciation, but they mean different things, and furthermore they are different parts of speech. Here are some explanations which will help you understand the difference between these two commonly confused words.

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Paradoxes, Oxymorons, and Contradictory Statements

In English, a contradictory statement is one that says two things that cannot both be true. Contradictory statements are used for emphasis and humor. Pardoxes and Oxymorons are two types of contradictory statements. Click here to learn about contradictory statements and read many examples.

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Waist vs. Waste - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between WAIST and WASTE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. It is easy to confuse “waist” and “waste” in English. Both of them sound the same, but they mean different things. They are also spelled differently. It is important that you do not confuse them because their meanings are not the same. How do you know when to use “waste” and when to use “waist”? The examples below will show you when to use each word. Let’s look at some examples to help you understand the difference.

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English Vocabulary for Food and Cooking (Illustrated)

In this lesson, you will learn all of the vocabulary you need to prepare and speak about food in English. Let’s get started!

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Like vs. As - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between LIKE and AS: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students of English have trouble knowing when to use like and when to use as. What is the difference between these two words? The rule about like and as has several different parts. That’s why like and as can be difficult for students to use properly. Understanding the rule is absolutely essential, because if you mix up the words it’s considered quite a big mistake. Most of the time, anyway. Technically, like and as are not interchangeable. This means that in some situations you have to use one, and in some situations you need to use the other. However, there is one part of the rule that is often broken by native English speakers when they talk. How confusing!

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Precede vs. Proceed - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between PRECEDE and PROCEED: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Precede and proceed are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? Both words are verbs, and their spellings are very similar. Their pronunciations are similar too! However, the definitions of the two words are not related. It is important to learn the difference between precede and proceed because one word is used to talk about the past, and the other is used to talk about the future. You wouldn’t want to mix them up!

Let’s look at some examples to help you understand the difference.

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English Vocabulary for Sports (Illustrated)

In this lesson, you will learn all the vocabulary you need to play sports, watch sports and talk about sports. Let’s get started!

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Word Order in English

In this lesson, you will learn the correct word order in English. Word order in English is very strict. Native English speakers are used to hearing English parts of speech in a specific order. If these parts of speech are in a different order, it can be confusing. So in this lesson you can find rules and many examples on the following: basic word order in English, word order: adjectives, word order: adverbs, word order: indirect objects.

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Using Word Order for Emphasis

There are several ways to add emphasis (or focus) to certain parts of your sentences in English by changing the word order. When you have a good understanding of basic sentence structure in English, you can learn to move parts of a sentence to add emphasis. Some ways to add emphasis is by inversion, cleft sentences, moving adverbs, and using passive voice. Click the link to read more about adding emphasis with word order in English.

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Adverb Word Order

In English, we can use adverbs and adverb phrases to make sentences more descriptive. Most adverbs can be placed in different parts of a sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. Sometimes, placing an adverb in a different part of the sentence adds emphasis to the meaning of the adverb. Adverbs can be placed in three main parts of the sentence. If you have more than one adverb modifying the same word, they should be placed in a specific order. Here are some rules on adverb word order that you should know.

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Crash vs. Crush - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CRASH and CRUSH: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Crash and crush are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? The two words both sound and look very similar, and each word can be a noun, a verb, and also an adjective. Despite these similarities, the meanings of the two words are not the same. In fact, each word has multiple meanings. It is important to learn the difference between crash and crush because one is used to speak about accidents, and the other is used to talk about love. You definitely wouldn't want to mix them up! In order to understand the difference between crash and crush, let's look at some examples of each word.

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Bear vs. Bare - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between BEAR and BARE: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Bear and bare are two commonly confused words in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? Most people are familiar with the most common definition of bear, the brown furry animal that lives in the forest. However, bear can also be used as a verb. Both definitions are pronounced in the same way as bare, which also has multiple meanings. It is important to learn the difference between bear and bare, because the words are used in completely different contexts. Moreover, if you use the wrong one, you might accidentally suggest that someone remove his or her clothes! That would be very embarrassing! In order to understand the differences between bear and bare, let's look at some examples of each word.

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All Together vs. Altogether - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between ALL TOGETHER and ALTOGETHER: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. "All together" and "altogether" are two very similar expressions in the English language. How do you know when to use each one? Although they are pronounced in the same way and there is only a small difference in their spellings, all together and altogether are not the same. The two expressions represent different parts of speech and are used in completely different ways! Knowing when to use each one is important and is a skill that will impress even native English speakers. Let’s look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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Amused vs. Bemused - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between AMUSED and BEMUSED: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Amused and bemused are two commonly confused words in the English language. Both words are adjectives and are used to describe feelings. Although their spellings are quite similar, their meanings are completely different. It’s important to learn the difference, because one word means that something is entertaining and the other means that something has confused you! Both words have verb and noun forms, so understanding the difference is also a great way to build your vocabulary. Let’s look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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Phrasal Verbs with UP (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the basic principles behind phrasal verbs with UP: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. For many students, one of the most difficult parts of learning English is studying phrasal verbs. A phrasal verb is a verb that is combined with an adverb or preposition. The combination creates a new meaning, often one that is not related to the definition of the base verb and is difficult to guess. The definitions of many phrasal verbs need to be memorized. There are hundreds of phrasal verbs in English, and this can be overwhelming for students. However, you will be pleased to know that there are often patterns in how phrasal verbs are formed. Here, we are going to look at phrasal verbs that include the preposition UP. UP often has one of the meanings described below. Not all phrasal verbs with UP fall into these categories, but there are many examples that do.

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Amount vs. Number - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between AMOUNT and NUMBER: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Students of English are often confused about the difference between the words amount and number. How do you know when to use each one? Both amount and number are nouns that refer to the quantity of something. Both words can also be used as verbs that mean "to be a certain quantity" or "to add up to. "Although they are similar, the two words are not interchangeable. They are used in completely different contexts and, for English speakers, the distinction is very clear. It is important to learn the difference between amount and number, both as nouns and as verbs, because if you mix them up it's considered quite a basic mistake.

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Between vs. Among - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between BETWEEN and AMONG: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Students of English often have difficulty understanding the difference between the words between and among. How do you know when to use each one? Both words are prepositions, and are used to talk about the relationship between people and objects, and the space or area around them. Although the two words are similar, they are not the same. It is important to learn the difference because native English speakers never confuse these two words. Understanding when to use each one is an important skill that will take your English to the next level.

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More Hands-on Activities and Games for Teaching English

Students learn in a variety of ways. Hands-on activities and games encourage creativity, collaboration, and communication. Teaching English with these activities can help language students learn and practice English vocabulary, grammar, concepts, and ideas. Here are seven hands-on activities and games for teaching English.

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It is… vs. There is… - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between IT IS and THERE IS: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students have doubts about the difference between it is and there is. In reality, the two structures are not similar at all! Understanding when to use each one is very important.

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Custom vs. Costume - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CUSTOM and COSTUME: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Custom and costume are two commonly confused words, particularly for people studying English as a foreign language. How do you know when to use each one? The two words sound very similar, and there is only a small difference in their spellings. Despite this, their meanings are very different. It's important to learn the difference between custom and costume, because one word refers to a tradition and the other refers to a type of clothing.

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Compliment vs. Complement - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between COMPLIMENT and COMPLEMENT: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Compliment and complement are two very similar words in the English language. Sometimes even native speakers mix them up. How do you know when to use each one? The two words are pronounced in the exact same way, and there is only a small difference in their spellings. Despite these similarities, the meanings of the two words are not related! One is used to offer praise, and the other means that something goes well with something else. Understanding the difference between the two words is important, because if you confuse them it's considered quite a basic spelling mistake. Let's look at some examples to help you learn the distinction.

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English Vocabulary for Weddings (Illustrated)

In this lesson, you will learn all the vocabulary you need to be a guest at a wedding where English is spoken. After the lesson, you will also be able to tell your friends all about the experience.

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Beside vs. Besides - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between BESIDE and BESIDES: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students have difficulty understanding the difference between "beside" and "besides". In fact, sometimes even native speakers have doubts about the distinction between the two words. When should you use each one? It is important to learn the difference between beside and besides, because both words come up frequently in everyday speech and writing. In addition, if you use the two words properly you will be able to impress even native English speakers.

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Conform vs. Confirm - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CONFORM and CONFIRM: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Many students confuse the words conform and confirm. How do you know when to use each one? Both words are verbs, and there are only small differences in their spellings and pronunciations. However, you need to be careful, because the meanings of the two words are very different. It is important to know when to use each one, because one is used to speak about rules and regulations, and the other is used to say that facts and opinions are true. Using the wrong word can lead to confusion!

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Stationary vs. Stationery - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between STATIONARY and STATIONERY: illustrations, definitions, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Stationary and stationery are two words that are commonly confused in the English language. Some native speakers don't even realize that there are two different spellings! After this lesson, you will be able to remember the differences in spelling and meaning between the adjective stationary and the noun stationery.

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Adapt vs. Adopt - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between ADAPT and ADOPT: illustrations, definitions, collocations, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Both words are verbs, and there are only small differences in their spellings and pronunciations. But be careful, because the meanings of the two words are very different. Knowing when to use each one is important, because otherwise you might suggest making a change when what you mean is that you want to accept something the way it already is!

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Story vs. Storey - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between STORY and STOREY: illustrations, definitions, collocations, examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. The two words have almost identical spellings, and are pronounced in the same way. Both words are nouns, but the definitions are not related at all! One is used to talk about events, and the other is used to describe buildings. It is important to learn the difference, because if you mix them up you might not be understood. Let's look at some examples of each word.

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Compare and Contrast in English

Using the right words and phrases can help you express your ideas in English. To describe your thoughts and ideas, you can compare and contrast. In English, you can use certain words to compare people, things, or ideas to show how they are similar or the same. You can also use certain words to contrast, or tell how people, things, or ideas are different. Learn compare and contrast signal words in this illustrated lesson.

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Imply vs Infer - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between IMPLY and INFER: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Though they are used in similar, and even sometimes the same, contexts, imply and infer mean very different things. It can be easy to mix them up. Saying you implied something when you really inferred it is a mistake even native English speakers make. However, with a little work, you will be sure to never mix them up again. Let's take a look at a few examples to help you understand the difference.

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Council vs. Counsel - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between COUNCIL and COUNSEL: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. These are two commonly confused words in the English language. Even though they sound the same and have similar spellings, they mean very different things. If you mix them up, you might end up with a large group of politicians gathered in your living room when you really just meant to ask for advice! Let's look at some examples to make sure a mix up like that never happens.

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Causes and Effects in English

When we talk about a situation that makes another situation happen, we talk about cause and effect. In English, we use certain expressions such as because, due to, since, and as to talk about causes and effects. Click the link to learn the meanings of cause, effect (noun), and affect (verb). There are many illustrated examples to help you study.

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Coarse vs. Course - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between COARSE and COURSE: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. They sound the same and are spelled almost the same, with only one letter that is different. However, that one letter makes a huge difference in their meanings. It's important to learn the difference between them so you don't accidentally accuse someone of being rude when you're actually talking about a race!

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Censor vs. Censure - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between CENSOR and CENSURE: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers. Though these two words look similar, they sound slightly different and have very different meanings. It's important to learn the difference between the two, otherwise you might end up harshly criticizing someone when you just meant to make sure that a movie was appropriate!

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Farther vs. Further - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between FARTHER and FURTHER: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers.

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Hands-on Activities for Teaching English

Students learn in a variety of ways. Teaching English with hands-on activities can help language students learn and practice English vocabulary, grammar, concepts, and ideas. Here are six hands-on activities and games for teaching English + illustrations

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Pole vs. Poll - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between POLE and POLL: definitions, illustrated examples, tips, practice story, final quiz, and answers.

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Aisle vs. Isle - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between AISLE vs. ISLE: definitions, illustrated examples, practice story and final quiz.

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Indirect Questions Worksheet

Indirect Questions Worksheet

Indirect questions are used to try to get information. We can use indirect questions if we want to ask a more personal or formal question.

Indirect questions are more polite than direct questions.

Practice indirect questions in English using this fully illustrated worksheet.

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Principle vs. Principal - What Is the Difference? (with Illustrations and Examples)

This lesson explains the difference between PRINCIPLE and PRINCIPAL: definitions, illustrated examples, practice story and a final quiz.

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