Have you ever seen the premiere of a new movie, television show, play, or musical? How about a premier movie, television show, play, or musical?
Did you notice the difference immediately, or did you have to read again to make sure you weren’t seeing double? They are two words separated by just the letter e. Premiere and premier are only two of the thousands of words in the English language that a lot of people constantly misuse. So what’s the difference between these two, and why are they so confusing?
Premiere is a noun that means “the first public showing of something.” Usually, this refers to a movie, a play, or a musical. Premiere with an e can also be used as a verb. However, this usage is exclusive to the entertainment industry.
They’re planning to go to the premiere this Saturday.
The new musical premieres next month.
Premier, on the other hand, is an adjective that can mean a variety of things: first, principal, important, to name a few. A lesser-known use of premier is a noun replacing “prime minister.”
I’m treating my parents to dinner at a premier restaurant downtown.
He’ll be attending a lecture from the Canadian premier at the university.
Now that we know what they’re used for, here’s why we confuse them so often. Both premiere and premier are from the French word premier, which means “first.” The word premier entered usage in the English language as early as the fifteenth century. The word premiere was adapted from the French phrase “première representation,” which means “first presentation.” It was first used in English around the nineteenth century, and since accent marks are not popular in the English language, they were dropped. Soon the pronunciation of the two words became too similar for them to be differentiated properly.
Now that you know the difference, here’s a little trick to help you remember it. Always associate premiere with movie; both of them end with the letter e.
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