Canon versus Cannon

What is the Difference Between Canon and Cannon?


When to Use Canon

Canon is a noun that has a few different meanings. The most commonly used ones are,

  • A corpus of writings.
  • An established principle.
  • An ecclesiastical law established by a church council.
  • The books of the Bible accepted as Holy Scripture.

    Here is an example sentence using each meaning of canon.

  • The book serves as a gateway to the Western canon. (Group of writings)
  • Your conduct on the field violated the canons of fair play. (Established rule/principle)
  • The Vatican Council set forth a new set of ecclesiastical canons. (Laws established by a church council)
  • The Protestant canon has 66 books. (Books of the Bible)

    The verb form of canon is canonize.

    When to Use Cannon

    Cannon is also a noun and has one primary meaning: a large mounted weapon that fires heavy projectiles.

  • The cannons used in the Civil War were extremely advanced for their time.
  • The cannon on the Navy vessel sank three enemy ships.

    Unlike canon, which requires a slight variation to act as a verb, cannon can act as verb without any changes. The verb cannon means to bombard with cannon.

  • The troops cannoned their enemies during a surprise attack.

    Cannon does have a second definition that is very rare to see used but still worth mentioning: the loop at the top of a bell by which it is hung.

    Summary

    As you can see, one letter can be the difference between a written body of literature and a mounted gun for warfare. Remember this next time you can’t decide, “Is it cannon or canon?”

    Canon is a body of written work, rules, principles, or laws.

    Cannon is a large gun.

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