Fazed and confused

Are you fazed by the phases of the moon? What about the phases of life? What about use of the term “unphased”?

As you’ve probably guessed, today we’re discussing the difference between the homophones faze and phase. We mostly use “​phase​” as a noun, as you see it used in the sentences above. But it’s also a verb, as in, “The company plans to phase out use of fossil fuels.”

“​Faze​,” meanwhile, is a verb that means to disconcert or daunt. We ​don’t use it as much​ as we use “phase,” though. So when some people write about being daunted by something, they’ll misuse “phase” when they mean to write “faze.” You’ll also see “unphased” when it should be “unfazed.”

"Phase" is both a noun and a verb that's used in reference to a process, cycle or development or the act of carrying out a plan: "He decided to phase in the changes so they wouldn't be overwhelming." Do not use the verb "phase" when you mean "faze," which means to disconcert or daunt: "Despite the withering criticism, she was unfazed and decided to continue with the project."

“Faze vs. phase” is just one of the many commonly confused word pairs we cover in our ​style guide​.

Lay or lie? Affect or effect? If you need reminders about how to use these words, you're not alone! It happens to the best of us, and I'm here to help. Below you can learn more about common writing mistakes. Or, you can ask me something specific.

Which ones would you like to see us unpack in this newsletter? Leave a comment and let us know.

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