Is it Christmas Eve or Christmas Eave? Although these two words sound the same, only one is used to describe the night before something important. But what does the other word mean, then? I’ll explain all the essential details right here and show you how to tell the difference.
Eaves vs. Eves
The nouns “eaves” and “eves” are both homophones of each other. If you don’t know what that means, it’s when two or more words sound exactly the same but don’t mean the same thing.
The definition of “eaves” is a common noun we use in English when referring to the part of a roof that overhangs the walls of a house or building. It’s derived from the Old English word efes, which means edge of a roof.
Then we have the word “eves,” which is also a noun, but it refers to the day or evening before an important day or event, like Christmas eve or the eve of your birthday. It’s taken from the longer word “evening,” which is also a good way to remember the difference.
The way I remember the difference is thinking of “eves” like “elves,” as in Christmas elves.
Eaves Examples in a Sentence
- The birds built their nest in the eaves of the barn, so be careful when you’re painting.
- I love sitting on the porch under the eaves during a rainstorm; it’s better than watching TV.
- We took the time and installed gutters to prevent water from overflowing the eaves and onto the driveway.
- We have to replace the eaves on our off-grid cabin before the winter hits, or we might lose over the cold season.
- The eaves of a house are one of the first places to see signs you need a new roof.
For instance, icicles forming on the eaves trough may be beautiful to look at but can often be the result of a serious problem inside the home’s roof. (The Portland Press Herald)
Eve and Eves Examples in a Sentence
You don’t often use the plural form of “eve,” but I’ll include a few examples to show you.
- Christmas Eve is almost better than the holiday itself because we always exchange intimate gifts and spend quality time together.
- Which of all the holiday eves is your favorite? Mine is the night before Halloween when we get our costumes ready.
- On the eve of our wedding, we stayed in separate hotel rooms to build excitement about seeing one another the next day.
The Bottom Line
Don’t worry if you still get these two words mixed up. It’s an easy mistake, and a lot of people make it. Just remember my trick that “eves” looks a lot like “elves,” which is holiday related. And you can always refer back to my guide if you’re ever stuck. Be sure to check out our other helpful grammar tips and advice on homophones!