There are many words in English that are spelled the same or nearly the same, but which have very different meanings.
Angel and angle are two of these words. It can be easy to mix them up, and many people make the mistake of accidentally using one in place of the other, often as a typo.
What is the Difference Between Angel and Angle?
In this article, I’ll reveal the meanings of these words, explain the differences in their usage, and use each in a sentence as an example.
If you’re wondering whether to use angle or angel in your writing, I’ll offer an easy trick to remember which is which. Angel vs. angle is one choice that doesn’t have to make writing more challenging than it already is!
When to Use Angel
What does angel mean? These two words might look similar at first glance, but they have different meanings and usage cases. The word angel (pronounced ain-jull) is always a noun. It usually refers to a celestial being, like when a person says, “my guardian angel,” but can also be used to refer to a person who is seen as especially virtuous or pure.
At a religious gathering, you might hear this sentence:
- A choir of angels serenaded them on the hillside.
Or a friend might say of someone they admire:
- Mother Theresa was an angel to the sick and the poor.
Here’s an example from the New York Post.
- Miraculously, no one in the vehicle was injured. “According to police, my guardian angel responded,” she said.
When to Use Angle
What does angle mean? On the other hand, the word angle (pronounced ang-gull) can be used as a noun or a verb.
Angle as a noun: As a noun, this word usually has one of two meanings: It can refer to a mathematical concept that describes a measure of the relationship between two lines, or it can describe a person’s perspective or viewpoint.
For instance, if you were taking a math test, you might see the following sentence:
- What is the angle of the lines in the picture?
Alternately, a detective might say,
- I need to think about this mystery from a different angle.
Here’s an example from The Wall Street Journal.
- Pineda attributes his turnaround to a mechanical change. At the beginning of June, he lowered his arm angle, which he said has led to more movement on his slider, theoretically his best weapon.
Angle as a verb: As a verb, angle can have many meanings. In the phrase “he angled the boat toward the dock,” angle is a rough synonym for the words steer or point. You could also say, “at the bottom of the hill, the path angled to the west” to say that the path changed direction.
Angle vs. Angel: When to Use Which
While writing, you might be asking yourself, “Should I use angel or angle in this sentence?”
There are a couple of ways you can be sure. If you’re using the word as a verb, then angle is the only correct option, since angel is never a verb.
If the word in question is a noun, you should think about the context of the sentence.
An easy way to keep these confusing words straight is to remember that “angel” and “devil” both refer to spiritual beings, and both end with L.
“Angle” and “line” are both geometry terms, and both end with E.
By keeping this trick in mind, you can avoid one of the common mistakes that even experienced writers make.
Summary: Angel vs. Angle
Angel is always a noun, and it almost always describes a spiritual creature or a remarkably virtuous person.
Angle can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it refers to a relationship between two lines or someone’s perspective or viewpoint. As a verb, it could mean to steer or to change direction.
The words are not interchangeable, but if you’re having trouble remembering the difference, you can refer back to this article for guidance.