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 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?
What Are the Synonyms for Sale?
Examples of Using Sail in a Sentence
- 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!