A principal principle

AAH is a local independent monthly free magazine. It is produced by a two-man editorial-photographic team to a seriously high standard. Lapses are very rare, but this one caught my eye and wouldn’t let it go until I’d written to the editor, Ben M——, about it.

Hi Ben. It’s a matter of principle
That, when two words sound almost the same,
Great care should be taken with spelling:
Precision’s the principal aim.

For words have a history, a story
To tell, of their passage through time;
And the history of ‘principle’ and ‘principal’
Mean their spellings refuse to align.

They both come from variants of princeps,
The Latin for ‘chief’, it appears.
Old French took each variant and tweaked them
To mean different things down the years.

Spell-checking software won’t help you,
It’s happy with ‘principle’ or ‘principal’.
(And my old Rhyming Dictionary’s useless:
It’s got no good rhyme-words for ‘principal’.)

But keep up the good work you’re doing.
AAH is a quality treat – it
Maintains such a very high standard:
There’s nothing around that can beat it.

PS: Ben replied as follows:
Thanks for taking the time to write,
But blame lies at the feet of another:
Before I go to press each month
I send the magazine to my mother.

She scours each page that I send her
In a sort of proof reading role;
But now that you’ve spotted this error
She’s been forced to go back on the dole!

[Image: all-free-download.com]
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