alter vs. altar

What is the difference between alter and altar?

Although they have the same pronunciation (/ˈɔltər/), alter and altar have very different meanings.
Alter is a verb meaning “to change or become different in some way,” as in:
  • “We had to alter our plans once we found out our funding was cut.”
Altar, though, is a noun referring to a raised pedestal, platform, or other structure typically used in religious rites or sacrifices, as in:
  • “The priest placed the goblet upon the altar at the end of the ceremony.”

Spelling Tricks and Tips

If you are describing an action, then you should spell the word alter, since it is a verb; if you are talking about an object, the word will be spelled altar.
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