Sail vs. Sale – Homophones, Difference & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Do you sail a ship or sale a ship? Using the wrong word in this situation can create so much confusion because one is a verb while the other is a noun. But there’s actually far more to it than that with these two homophones. Sure, they’re pronounced the same, but their meanings are so far apart. Let’s take a look together.

Sail vs. Sale

Sail vs. Sale Homophones Difference Meaning

Sail and sale homophones are two words often confused with one another. Sail can be both a noun and a verb, and sale is a noun used in the context of selling things; a garage sale, the sale of a house, etc.

What Is the Meaning of Sail?

Sail comes from the Old English word segl, meaning sail, veil, or curtain. But this tricky little word can be used in two ways; as a verb or noun, but the meanings still revolve around the act of sailing.

Sail as a Noun

A “sail” is a piece of fabric that sailors or boat enthusiasts use to catch wind currents and propel a boat or ship across the water — hence the term sailboat.

Sail as a Verb

But “sail” can also be used as a verb. You’d use it to describe the act of sailing or when something is moving effortlessly across something, like running and sliding across ice or a slippery surface. You could also say that you sailed across the ice.

What Are the Synonyms for Sail?

  • Navigate
  • Cruise
  • Drift
  • Float
  • Coast

What Are the Synonyms for Sale?

  • Offer
  • Deal
  • Discount
  • Transaction

Examples of Using Sail in a Sentence

Sail vs. Sale Homophones Difference Meaning 1
  • The sails of The Devil’s Heart billowed in the wind as the pirate ship glided across the water.
  • My mom learned to sail on fishing boats when she was just a kid and taught my brother and me when we were little. Now we love sailing together.
  • My dad’s boat was equipped with a new set of sails, making it so much easier for us to use.
  • Look! There’s a sailing ship way out in the harbor! I love how they use wind energy to move.
  • I thought I was going to slip and fall, but I just sailed across the ice with my boots.
  • My best friend’s husband is in the navy and is sailing overseas next week for over three months.
  • We’re headed to the park to sail our plastic ships with remotes in the lake.

Amendments Sail to Easy Passage (The Texas Tribune)

Examples of Using Sale in a Sentence

  • The thrift store is having a big sale on all its winter coats. We should go get some and hand them out to the homeless shelter.
  • I can’t believe the insane deal we were able to get on our new car during the Memorial Day sale.
  • During the pandemic, people were at home and consumed more creative entertainment like TV, movies, and books. My book sales went through the roof!
  • We’re having a huge garage sale this weekend to get rid of all our unused stuff.
  • Vista Print had a huge clearance sale yesterday!
  • I was promoted to director of sales today!

Just before the sale, Christie’s announced that a third party had stepped forward to share the risk — as well as any proceeds above the guaranteed price. (The New York Times)

Trick to Remember the Difference Between Sail vs. Sale

It might seem silly, but the way I always remember the difference is by looking at the word sail and how the “i” and “l” look like masts on a boat. I hope that trick will help you the next time you’re trying to think of the right word to use!