Plain and Plane

Commonly Confused Words

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The words plain and plane are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.

As an adjective, plain means simple, uncomplicated, common, or obvious. The noun plain refers to a flat, usually treeless stretch of land.

As a noun, plane can refer to an airplane, a tool for smoothing wood, or a level surface.

Examples

  • "Without heroes, we are all plain people and don't know how far we can go." (Bernard Malamud)
  • "The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain." (My Fair Lady)
  • "It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane." (Charles Lindbergh)
  • "There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there." (Albert Einstein)

Practice


(a) The flight crew extinguished the fire, and the _____ landed safely.

(b) "An orator is the worse person to tell a _____ fact." (Maria Edgeworth)

(c) In restaurant kitchens, the art-room's squeezy bottle, the carpenter's _____, and the welder's blowtorch have become commonplace items.

(d) The dining area of the restaurant was refreshingly _____ and uncluttered.

Answers

(a) The flight crew extinguished the fire, and the plane landed safely.

(b) "An orator is the worse person to tell a plain fact." (Maria Edgeworth)

(c) In restaurant kitchens, the art-room's squeezy bottle, the carpenter's plane, and the welder's blowtorch have become commonplace items.



(d) The dining area of the restaurant was refreshingly plain and uncluttered.

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words