Grammar Hammer: A Flair for Flare?


Flair/Flare  is one of my favorite homophones. Even though these words sound the same, their meanings are very different and these words are not interchangeable.

FLAIR: A natural talent or aptitude; distinctive elegance or style

Example: She had a real flair for soufflé.

Example: He wore that hat with a lot of flair.

FLARE: A fire or a blazing light (noun); to burn with an unsteady flame, or a sudden or brief burst of light, or to start up or burst out in a sudden, fierce activity (verb)

Example: My father always concluded his lectures by flaring his nostrils.

Example: The forest fire flared up with the increased winds.

How to remember the difference:

Flair – with an i – describes something that an individual is good at. Individual = i; flair = i.

Flare – with an e – describes a flame (either literal or figurative). Flame = e; flare = e.

If you have a flair for flares, you can plan the next July 4th fireworks celebration. If you have a flare for flairs? Well, that sounds dangerous. Not sure I’d want to see that.

A Flair for Flare (Image by Milosz1/Flickr; used under Creative Commons 2.0)

A flair for flares. Image via Milosz1/Flickr used under CC by 2.0.

Have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore? Drop me a line at [email protected].

A version of this post originally appeared on PR Newswire’s Beyond PR blogAuthor Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire, and (hopefully) has a flair for words.

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