Final vs finial

  • Final and finial are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often confused in usage. Two words or more than two words may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure for learning commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables final and finial, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.


    Final is an adjective or a noun that describes (1.) something that comes at the end of a series, (2.) something that happens at the end of a process or is the last, irrevocable outcome, (3.) the score at the end of a sporting event, (4.) the last iteration of an opinion that cannot be argued with any further, or (5.) the last test a student takes at the end of a course. The word final is derived the Latin word finalis, which means concluding.


    A finial is an ornament or architectural detail at the top of an object or building. A finial may be the top of a spire or a knob on a newel. The word finial is derived from the Middle English word, fyniall, which means binding.


    Lady Gaga was thrilled that Tony Bennett recognized her during the pair’s final performance together at Radio City Music Hall in August, according to a 60 Minutes interview on CBS. (Prevention Magazine)

    The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is putting the final touches on its efforts to combat climate change and create a more sustainable city, with significant short- and long-term challenges at play, major decisions to be made in the mayor’s final months in office, and questions about its policy choices. (Gotham Gazette)

    You’ll see newly installed finials – decorative ornaments – topping Music Hall’s High Victorian Gothic peaks and gables. (Cincinnati Business Courier)

    As the guest was speaking, Richard opened the case to pull out a small clock sitting on top of four columns with an eagle finial – ornament – above the clock, from inside it and held it up to the crowd. (The Sun)

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