Professional Style

Fiancé vs. Fiancée

January 2015
Spot the Error

Johnny Depp and fiancé Amber Heard attend charity event amid breakup rumors.

That little tidbit was, as they say, “ripped from the headlines” ... or, at least, the Facebook trending news feed. Granted, the style is brusque—as would be expected from a headline—but that’s not the problem. The error is with the word fiancé.

Fiancé refers to a man engaged to be married, not a woman. So, unless the lovely Amber is male, the appropriate word is fiancée. Yes, I know, they sound the same. But, as all fourth graders know, just because two words sound the same, doesn’t mean they are the same. When speaking, you can use whichever word you like. No one will know the difference. But when writing, you’ll want to give the little woman an extra “e” … for Engagement … or Emotional … or Ectoplasm … you decide.

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