The English language can be a tricky beast to master because it’s so easy to get confused between terms that happen to sound alike but have different meanings, aka homophones or homonyms. Take “fate” and “fete,” for example.
Sure, they may sound the same, despite their different spellings, but each has a definition of its own. So, let’s sit down for a moment and see the difference between them, so you know how to use each word correctly.
Fate vs. Fete
The fate and fete homophones are a strange pair, for sure. The noun “fate” is used to mean the predetermined outcome of a person’s life or an event’s outcome, like a fate worse than death.
But the word “fete,” also a homonym of “fate,” is a noun that refers to some sort of celebration or festival. It’s a French loan word in origin, hence why it’s not pronounced the way it’s spelled in English.
Think of the French version of happy birthday, “bonne fête.”
Using Fate With a Capital Letter
Sometimes, “fate” is used with a capital letter to refer to a personification of destiny, as in “Fate decreed that he would become king.” Using it in this context, “Fate” is clearly a proper noun because it refers to a specific being rather than just a general concept.
I’m also a Fantasy writer, so I’m no stranger to this word. I use it all the time in my books. With a star-cross lovers tale, I might say it was Fate for them to meet. In this case, I wouldn’t capitalize it. But in a story where Fate is used as an entity watching over the characters when giving life to it, I would then capitalize the word.
Is Fate a Proper Noun?
Sure, like I just mentioned, “Fate” can be used as a proper noun. But, in most cases, it’s not. It’s typically used in English as a common noun when referring to something predetermined.
Using Fate: Examples in a Sentence
- It was a twist of fate that brought my husband and me together after I almost turned down a job at the place he worked.
- I always knew it was my fate to become a writer; I could write before I could talk.
- I believe in the idea of fate and that everything happens for a reason.
- Ashley was resigned to her fate and accepted it with grace.
- To die by your side is the ultimate fate.
- No matter what the two overs tried, Fate just had other plans for them.
- It was a tragic fate what happened to those kids.
The fate of the test formerly known as PARCC remains up in the air as a vote in the Senate committee to amend graduation requirements related to standardized tests was delayed Monday. (The Press of Atlantic City)
Using Fete: Examples in a Sentence
- The town’s yearly fete each summer is always a fun event, and we never miss it.
- Our neighbors threw a fete to celebrate their engagement, so we popped over to give them a present.
- The company Christmas fete is always a great way to bring employees together.
- That community fete you planned has already raised ten thousand dollars for our local SPCA.
- The village fete for solstice is one I look forward to all year long.
- The Best American fete is the Fourth of July.
Fate Can Be a Fete
So, just remember folks, “fate” is what’s meant to be, and “fete” is a party or special holiday event. You can capitalize “fate” if you’re using it to give the idea of Fate a persona. Keep this tip in mind whenever you find yourself wondering about the two homonyms!