dual vs. duel

What is the difference between dual and duel?

The adjective dual stems from the Latin word duo and shares its meaning, “two.” For example:
  • “This portable dual-speaker sound system is perfect for parties.”
  • “The position will have dual roles, both manager and content creator.”
The meaning of the noun duel, “combat between two opponents,” is also associated with duo (though it was actually derived from the Latin word duellem, meaning “war”), and it can also be used as a verb to describe the action of two people fighting. For example:
  • “One of the classic tropes of old Westerns was the notion of being challenged to a duel.”
  • “The two politicians dueled during last night’s debate.”

Spelling Tricks and Tips

The two words share the same pronunciation, /ˈduəl/, which leads many writers to mix up their spellings. Just remember that dual is an adjective because it is spelled with an A, while duel is a noun that can function as a verb because it is spelled with an E.
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