Commonly Confused Words: Faze and Phase

How to properly use them

faze and phase
The phases of the moon. artpartner-images/Getty Images

The words faze and phase are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.

Definitions

The verb faze means to bother or disturb the composure (of someone).

As a   noun, phase means a stage of development or a distinct portion of a process, system, or presentation. As a verb, phase means to plan or carry out systematically in stages.

Examples

  • It takes a lot more than boos and catcalls to faze Norma.
  • "After her time as a nurse, she wasn't fazed by blood, guts or gore. After raising three boys she wasn't fazed at being left in sole charge of four grandchildren under three. And after a lifetime of being uninterested in TV she wasn't the slightest bit fazed when the producers of Channel Four's Big Breakfast once asked her to pop out of an oversized Christmas present live on national TV."
    (Mike Gayle, The To-Do List. Hodder & Stoughton, 2009)
  • Being the first to cross the finish line makes you a winner in only one phase of life.
  • "His instinct was to stay in the little thick-walled country house, and read, and eat sandwiches he made for himself of raisins and peanut butter, and wait for this phase of his life to pass. Moving from the first house, leaving it behind, had taught him that a life had phases."
    (John Updike, "The Brown Chest." The Afterlife and Other Stories. Knopf, 1994)
  • "Big, driverless machines, including tractors, will be a reality on some Australian farms this decade. While they will represent an obvious next phase in the evolution of that titan of rural production, the tractor, first commercially introduced to Australia by A.H. McDonald in 1908, people-less vehicles will not represent the cutting edge of agricultural technology and production. That will most likely be left to the robots."
    (Paul Daley, "Transforming the Bush: Robots, Drones, and Cows That Milk Themselves." The Guardian [UK], June 4, 2016)
     

    Idiom Alerts

    • The expression phase in means to gradually implement or introduce a product, process, position, or service.
      "[T]he State Pension age will be subject to periodic increases phased in over 2-year periods. A further increase to age 67 will be phased in from 2034 and a third increase, to age 68, will commence in 2044."
      (Sharon Hermes, "Private Pension Reform and Personal Accounts in the UK." Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, 2009)
    • The expression phase out means to gradually bring to an end a product, process, position, or service.
      "The garden care giant Ortho said on Tuesday that it would stop using neonicotinoids, a class of chemicals widely believed to harm bees. The brand, which is owned by Scotts Miracle-Gro, plans to phase out the chemicals by 2021 in eight of its products used to control garden pests and diseases."
      (Associated Press, "Ortho to Phase Out Chemicals Blamed for Decline in Bees." The New York Times, April 12, 2016)
    • The expression to go through a phase means to experience a temporary period of change or development.
      "Dad, you can't read me like a book. I'm not a book. And don't tell me I'm going through a phase. That's what you said to me when I was twelve years old. Everything I did, I was going through a phase. Well, this isn't a phase, this is my life. I'm almost forty-five years old."
      (Gerald Shapiro, From Hunger. University of Missouri Press, 1993)

    Practice

    (a) We are entering a new _____ in human history, one in which fewer and fewer workers will be needed to produce the goods and services for the global population.

    (b) Though Harry had never been on television before, being in front of a camera didn't seem to _____ him.

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    Answers to Practice Exercises: Faze and Phase

    (a) We are entering a new phase in human history, one in which fewer and fewer workers will be needed to produce the goods and services for the global population.

    (b) Though Harry had never been on television before, being in front of a camera didn't seem to faze him.