Grammar

Faze or Phase?

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Should it be faze or phase? The two words are pronounced the same way but they have very different meanings. So let’s have a look at this pair.

When selecting between faze or phase, you’re dealing with homophones.

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same way but may have different spellings or meanings. That’s why they’re easily confused with each other.

The words faze and phase are pronounced the same way, with a long A sound that rhymes with haze or rays.

Here’s what each means.

Faze

To faze means to cause upset or to make someone lose their composure. Someone who has been so affected has been fazed.

In a recent article from The New York Times that looked back at last year’s devastating wildfire in Paradise, California, there’s this quote:

“I’ve been here so long, it didn’t even faze me,” Fisher said.

Most of the time, when we use this word, it’s used in that similar fashion: we talk about an event or an issue that doesn’t or didn’t faze someone. I’ve seen far fewer examples of someone actually being fazed by something.

If you were to say the robbery fazed the homeowner who installed new lighting outside the house, you wouldn’t be misusing the word. But again, it doesn’t seem to be used as commonly that way.

Phase

The easiest definition of phase, meanwhile, is a particular point in a process or a cycle.

In the 1970s, after the cancellation of the original Star Trek television series, there was talk about trying launch a sequel series. That idea was eventually scrapped in favor of making a full-length feature film that became Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But the proposed title for the TV reboot was said to be called Star Trek: Phase II.

WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, recently ran a story with this headline: “Next phase of Main Street Renewal Project to start in September.” It refers to the next point in that project.


So now you know the difference between this pair of commonly-confused words. And you won’t have to be fazed by an embarrassing mistake.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.